Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers in the world and a lot of stars yearn to play under him given his reputation for improving the performance of players. However, there are also players who despise the Spaniard despite playing under him.
#5. FRANCK RIBERY
The season before Guardiola arrived at Bayern Munich, Franck Ribery was named the best player in Europe after helping Bayern Munich win the treble. The Frenchman had a few injury problems when Guardiola was in charge but it always seemed like they had a good working relationship.
However, after Guardiola left the Bavarian club, Ribery’s comments in an interview with Bild made it clear that the pair had their differences.
“Pep didn’t have a long career as a manager. He is a young coach. He lacks experience. Sometimes he talks too much. Football is very simple. I don’t need to be told: Do this and this. I need be free on the pitch. I need face-to-face encounters, I need a motivating pat on the back. That was the case with Ottmar [Hitzfeld] and Jupp [Heynckes]. Ancelotti is cool.”
“I’m finally feeling the trust again under Ancelotti. He is a great coach. I’m feeling free and motivated. Ancelotti is a gift for the club.”
#4. ALEXANDER HLEB
Alexander Hleb is one of many Arsenal players who transferred to Barcelona and endured a disappointing spell in recent years. Hleb was signed in 2008 when Guardiola was appointed Manchester City manager and right from the offset he found opportunities hard to come by.
In March 2009, he said that he didn’t want to waste the best years of his career on the bench as he had only started five league games. His situation didn’t improve much despite his little outburst. He was sent on loan in the next two season before being released in 2011.
After leaving Barcelona, Hleb revealed that he would always fight with Guardiola and he also admitted that he made a mistake by leaving Arsenal for the Catalan club.
“I lost my best years. I made some errors and I was never able to show my best.”
Hleb isn’t a fan of Guardiola and when he was who the best coaches in the world are, he left out the current Manchester City boss and named Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson.
#3. YAYA TOURE
Yaya Toure arrived at Barcelona a year before Guardiola and had a glowing reputation. He played an important role at Barcelona in his first season but all that changed when Guardiola was in charge.
Guardiola was familiar with Sergio Busquets during his time with Barcelona B and he preferred Busquets at the base of his three-man midfield. As a result, Toure’s game time dropped significantly and he was often forced to play out of position as a centre-back. In fact, Toure played in that position in the 2009 Champions League final. The 2009/10 season was even more difficult for Toure and he left Barcelona at the end of the season to join Manchester City.
“Whenever I asked him something, he always gave strange answers. He pretty much ignored me until City’s offer came in. That’s why I eventually opted to leave. I didn’t speak to Guardiola for a year.” – Toure said about his Barcelona departure in 2011.
Toure was a driving force at Manchester City but when Guardiola arrived in 2016, there were issues once again. After Toure left City in the summer, he accused Guardiola of having problems with African players.
“He [Guardiola] insists he has no problems with black players because he is too intelligent to be caught out, but when you realise that he has problems with Africans, wherever he goes, I ask myself questions. He will never admit it. But the day he will line up a team in which we find five Africans, not naturalised, I promise I will send him a cake.”
#2. SAMUEL ETO’O
Samuel Eto’o is another African superstar who had major issues with Guardiola.
When Guardiola arrived at Barcelona in 2008, he tried to offload Eto’o but the Cameroonian stayed and helped the club win the treble. Despite a good season, the manager still wanted to offload Eto’o and the player was sold to Inter. Eto’o won the treble again with Inter and helped the Serie A club get past Barcelona en route to winning the Champions League.
In an interview with beIN SPORTS, he ripped into his former manager and made several shocking revelations. According to Eto’o, Guardiola wanted to offload him and tried convincing him to play in Uzbekistan. In addition, during his final days at Barcelona, the manager asked him to swap numbers with Thierry Henry which Eto’o considered immensely disrespectful.
“He shook hands with me when I was at Inter and I played against Barca, but this was just for the cameras and TV. Behind the scenes before the match, he did not greet me,” – Eto’o claimed.
#1. ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC
No player has torn into Pep Guardiola as vehemently as Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede has come out swinging hard at his former manager on numerous occasions.
Zlatan was brought to Barcelona in 2009 from Inter with Eto’o moving the opposite way. Ibra was expected to lead the Barcelona attack that season but Guardiola opted to play Lionel Messi in a false-nine position and this mean, Ibrahimovic didn’t start as often as he wanted to. In all competitions, he started 36 games and made nine further substitute appearances. However, even when he started, he was often taken off. Despite this, Ibra scored 21 goals that season including a famous winner against Real Madrid.
Ibra left Barcelona after only one season and he has since thrown one insult after another at Guardiola. In fact, there are too many nasty comments from the Swede to list here. His comments on Barcelona’s defeat to Inter in the Champions League in 2010 best sums up his issues with Guardiola.
“Guardiola was staring at me and I lost it. I thought ‘there is my enemy, scratching his bald head!’. I yelled to him: ‘You have no balls!’ and probably worse things than that.” “You are sh*tting yourself because of Jose Mourinho. You can go to hell!”