The international media has been unanimous in its recognition and appreciation of Josep Guardiola after the manager announced that he will leave FC Barcelona at the end of the season.
Writing for ESPN, Graham Hunter analyzes Guardiola’s trajectory at the Barça helm and traces the overall impact Guardiola has had on the sport: “That is to say anyone, at all, who loves soccer owes Pep Guardiola a debt for the style, the creativity, the thrills, the bravery and the inventiveness. Sure, Barca fans covet and treasure the trophies, but neutrals like the majority of us simply know that someone who revolutionized football has been among us for a short, dramatic space of time.”
Hunter goes on to make the case that Guardiola did, in fact, make the right decision to step aside after achieving unprecedented success in his relatively short tenure as Barça’s boss. “My view is that those who think that losing this season's Champions League semifinal and probably watching Madrid lift the title are reasons to delay departure are absolutely wrong,” writes Hunter. “[N]ow he has taken the correct decision ... Guardiola, in life as in football, sees things just a little differently. His decision to leave the club he passionately loves comes at a cost because sooner or later it will move him to tears. Count on that ... But he knows he has reached that moment in time that, if ignored, will bring errors, regret, ill health and possibly failure.”
Football writer and ESPN columnist Phil Ball explains how Guardiola raised his Club’s profile in the world of football: “it has been interesting to see just how the whole Barcelona image, internationally speaking, has changed since Guardiola took over back in June 2008. Before then, people were very aware of the club and its culture, of course. Now they're hyper-aware, not so much for the politico-cultural reasons but because of the footballing paradigm that Guardiola has helped create. Its impact has been massive, will continue to be, and the news last Friday that the architect of the edifice was not going to continue was akin to the resignation of a head of state.[...] He leaves on a wave of affection, but his departure should nevertheless mark a point of reflection for the club, and perhaps for La Liga in general.”