Gundogan: Guardiola is modern football’s greatest coach

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola shouts during a football match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad stadium in Manchester. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 27 December 2022
Follow

Gundogan: Guardiola is modern football’s greatest coach

  • The 51-year-old Spaniard has led Manchester City to nine major trophies, including four Premier Leagues in the past five years

MANCHESTER: In debates about football’s greatest manager in the modern era, many names come into contention for their achievements on the domestic and European front.

Whether it is Sir Alex Ferguson, who led Manchester United to 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies during his 26 years at Old Trafford, ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, the “Special One” Jose Mourinho or current Real Madrid coach and four-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti.

But, for Ilkay Gundogan, there can be only one — his Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Since taking charge of the Abu Dhabi-owned side in 2016, the 51-year-old has led them to nine major trophies, including four Premier Leagues in the past five years.

Add that to his success at Barcelona, where he won six trophies alone in 2009, and at Bayern Munich, Guardiola is both revered and deemed revolutionary.

“For me, he’s the greatest coach in the modern game,” City captain Gundogan told Arab News exclusively.

“He has won everything with his clubs and, in terms of playing style, approaching a game, I have no doubt he will be remembered as the best so far. 

“He is probably the most innovative manager in modern football. It feels like he is the one who has changed the game in the last decade, and this belongs to him.

“Is he missing that big title with us like the Champions League? Maybe. We as players too, but sometimes it’s not always in our control.

“So many things have to come together to decide a game. But in the Premier League, 38 games, the way we play and what we have achieved, I think he’s on top, yes.

“Knowing him, he still has a lot of ideas in his head, a lot of hunger and a lot of ways he can improve his team and himself as well.

“We need to prepare for many more years with him in football because we need managers and coaches like him.”

With a desire to help City become Europe’s leading side and claim their elusive first Champions League, Guardiola has extended his contract until 2025.

And Germany international Gundogan, who also worked under Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund, believes the Spaniard is motivated to achieve even more.

“It’s amazing news for Manchester City that Pep is staying and shows also how happy he is here with the club and the group of players that he has,” added the midfielder.

“I think he’s excited about this group, and was last year too, about the possibilities he has as a manager.

“He has already done so much for the club and over the next two and a half years, he will do the same — and maybe even top it.

“In the years Pep has been at City, he has been the main man, the one coming up with the ideas and the way we play. 

“All the praise we get, the way we play, the goals we score, the praise should go to him as well — he’s in charge of all of that. Without him, all these things would not be possible.

“I’m quite sure he will be remembered forever in football.”

Gundogan is paying close attention to Guardiola’s managerial methods as he hopes to follow the same path in the future — just like another former City skipper, Vincent Kompany.

The Belgian, 36, took over at Championship leaders Burnley in the summer and is driving them toward an immediate top-flight return after relegation last season on the final day.

“I try to follow their results,” said Gundogan, 32. “Vincent was at a City game before the World Cup and I told him ‘You’re getting lucky with all these late winners, 90-plus minutes, in games.’

“But I’m very happy for him. I could see already when he was here, toward the end of his time at City, that this was one of his goals and to see how far he could go.

“He’s very persistent in details, very hard working and deserves the credit. It wasn’t an easy appointment at Burnley with all the players going out and he had to bring in new ones and it was a big change. 

“But the way he has handled it so far, he’s done very well. The Championship is a tough league and I wish him well to get a promotion.”

Gundogan added: “It would be maybe irresponsible not to try to discover what’s out there, to be coaching one day myself. 

“I’m privileged to have played under some of the best managers in the world, like Pep, Jurgen and Tuchel, so I can take out something from every one of them. I can use it for my own future in terms of coaching.

“I’ve done one step, from the B License and still two more to go, A License and Pro License, which I don’t want to rush. I love to focus on an active career, but can I imagine coaching one day? Definitely.

“It would be great to conquer that opportunity and go for it.”

Gundogan returned from World Cup duty with Germany to help City beat Liverpool 3-2 to reach the EFL Cup quarterfinals on Thursday.

It was a happy return after the bitter disappointment of his national team’s exit at the group stage for the second successive World Cup.

Gundogan is hoping that further success with City — who are still in contention for all four trophies this season — will make up for it.

“We went with different expectations for the World Cup, but it wasn’t meant to be,” he said.

“It was frustrating, but sometimes the good thing in football is the next challenges; they don’t wait long. They are just around the corner, and we are back with a good result against Liverpool and now it’s game after game. The busiest part of the year is now, so it’s good.

“We have done really well in recent years in the second part of the season. The target is the same and hopefully, we can go on a run. The competition, especially in the Premier League, seems to be bigger than ever.”


Yadav, Arshdeep star as India beat USA to reach T20 World Cup second round

Updated 6 sec ago
Follow

Yadav, Arshdeep star as India beat USA to reach T20 World Cup second round

Despite the defeat, the United States are still well-placed to join India in the Super Eights as they have four points while Pakistan and Canada are on two
India were stunned by Mumbai-born fast bowler Saurabh Netravalkar who had superstar batsman Virat Kohli caught behind for nought off the first ball he faced

NEW YORK: Suryakumar Yadav hit an unbeaten half-century and left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh claimed a career-best 4-9 as India defeated the United States by seven wickets to reach the T20 World Cup second round on Wednesday.
Chasing 111 to win the Group A clash, India were rattled at 15-2 and then 44-3 before Yadav (50) and Shivam Dube (31) put on an undefeated fourth-wicket stand of 67 to secure a third win in three games for Rohit Sharma’s team with 10 balls to spare.
Despite the defeat, the United States are still well-placed to join India in the Super Eights as they have four points while Pakistan and Canada are on two.
India were stunned by Mumbai-born fast bowler Saurabh Netravalkar who had superstar batsman Virat Kohli caught behind for nought off the first ball he faced.
Rohit was then caught by Harmeet Singh at mid-off, again off the bowling of the 32-year-old Netravalkar in the third over.
Rishabh Pant’s 18-run cameo was ended when his stumps were uprooted by Ali Khan in the eighth over.
However, Yadav went to his 18th international T20 half-century from 49 balls with two fours and a pair of sixes.
Left-hander Dube’s 31 came off 35 deliveries and featured a boundary and a six on the same notoriously tricky and slow Nassau County International Cricket Stadium pitch where India had made just 119 in a six-run win over Pakistan at the weekend.
Earlier, Arshdeep removed recalled opener Shayan Jahangir lbw off the first ball and had Andries Gous (two) caught in the deep five balls later as the USA found themselves 3-2 after the opening over.
Big-hitting skipper Aaron Jones, who clubbed an undefeated 94 in the hosts’ opening win over Canada in Dallas, made just 11 before he fell to Hardik Pandya.
That left the US on 25-3 before opener Steven Taylor (24) and top-scorer Nitish Kumar (27) put on 31 for the fourth wicket.
Nitish became Arshdeep’s third victim, smartly caught on the boundary by Mohammed Siraj.
Former New Zealand star Corey Anderson (15) was the sixth man out with the score on 96 thanks to a running catch by wicket-keeper Pant off Pandya who completed a wicket-maiden.
With the Americans looking to push the total into three figures, Arshdeep had Harmeet Singh caught behind for 10.
Shadley van Schalkwyk (11) and Jasdeep Singh (two) ensured the United States posted what they hoped would have been a defendable total.
Both teams went into the game with a perfect four points from two wins with the USA having stunned Pakistan in a famous Super Over triumph last time out.
India join Australia and South Africa as the three teams to have so far booked their places in the next stage.

Vetting of Russian, Belarusian athletes for Paris Games ongoing-IOC

Updated 16 min 17 sec ago
Follow

Vetting of Russian, Belarusian athletes for Paris Games ongoing-IOC

  • Each qualified athlete is undergoing a vetting process by a three-member panel appointed by the IOC to make sure they meet certain eligibility criteria.
  • “The vetting process is ongoing,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said

LAUSANNE: The vetting process for Russian and Belarusian athletes who have qualified for the Paris Olympics has started but is far from complete, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the IOC initially recommended a ban from international competitions of athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus, but has since allowed them to qualify for the Paris Olympics as neutrals.
Yet each qualified athlete is undergoing a vetting process by a three-member panel appointed by the IOC to make sure they meet certain eligibility criteria.
Not having actively supported the war in Ukraine and not having been contracted to any military or security agency are among those criteria.
“The vetting process is ongoing,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told a press conference. “It is ongoing and will continue toward the Games.”
“I cannot give you the exact deadline. The reason it is taking so long is we are doing it very, very thoroughly.”
“We need to get the information from a lot of people. So, the process has to be done properly.”
The IOC has said it expects to see about 36 Russian and 22 Belarusian athletes competing as neutrals in Paris.
The maximum number, depending on qualification standards and country quotas, and which is unlikely to be reached, would be 54 and 28 respectively.
“You can imagine the amount of work required to go through a full and through process,” said IOC sports director Kit McConnell.
“That includes review of contracting situations, social media and so on.”
“In terms of timelines we are conscious of confirming the places available. We are working with international federations and trying to do that as quickly as possible... but obviously in a very thorough way.”
The Paris Olympics kick off on July 26.


Esports World Cup and the Esports Awards announce three-year partnership

Updated 56 min 59 sec ago
Follow

Esports World Cup and the Esports Awards announce three-year partnership

  • Awards ceremony in Riyadh will be one of the most prestigious nights in the world esports calendar

RIYADH: The Esports World Cup Foundation and the Esports Awards have announced a three-year partnership that brings the world’s most prestigious esports awards ceremony and platform to the Esports World Cup, the world’s largest gaming festival, scheduled to take place this summer in Riyadh.

The 2024 Esports Awards will be held on Aug. 24 in Riyadh with a gala to honor the best in esports from every corner of the globe, celebrating clubs, athletes, content creators, games and more. The partnership ensures that the Esports Awards will be a platform for experiences such as the lifetime achievement mixer, red carpet event, esports village and the awards ceremony itself. Fans can vote for awards finalists when they are revealed on June 27.

Since its inception in 2015, the Esports Awards has earned a reputation for recognizing excellence in esports globally and supporting initiatives to grow the industry. Over the past decade, it has evolved from a London dinner event into the premier global awarding body and de-facto platform for esports recognition.

The global red carpet event has been held in London, Dallas and Las Vegas and now comes to Saudi Arabia for the first time.

Last year’s star-studded ceremony attracted more than 22 million viewers and some of the biggest brands, athletes and publishers took home 30 awards in categories for entertainment, industry, creative, pro, on-air talent, and collegiate. The event secured a Guinness World Record for largest digital video game display when WWE superstars and gaming legends alike played Pac-Man on a screen with an area of 100,000 square feet.

“Partnering with the Esports World Cup enables us to offer an even more exceptional experience to our nominees, guests and viewers," said Michael Ashford, CEO, Esports Awards. “The Esports Awards have always been dedicated to celebrating incredible achievements in esports, so we naturally saw the opportunity to join forces with EWC in Riyadh as an excellent fit.

“The Middle East is home to one of the fastest growing and most passionate esports communities in the world and I’m delighted to be bringing the awards to the region for the first time. I cannot wait for this year’s ceremony, which I expect will be the most impressive and memorable one yet.”

Ralf Reichert, CEO of Esports World Cup Foundation, said: “Hosting the Esports Awards in Riyadh enriches the Esports World Cup, bringing the entire world together to commemorate esports excellence.

“Here, we can support the Esports Awards as a valuable bridge between Eastern and Western audiences. The Esports Awards is a fantastic gala that celebrates stakeholders from across the global esports ecosystem, recognizing not only competitive greatness but also greatness in production, broadcasting, leadership, creative design and more. I’m excited to attend the Esports Awards this year in Riyadh and honor the best in esports.”

The Esports World Cup starts on July 3 in Riyadh and will turn the city into the epicenter of esports fandom and gaming culture for eight weeks.

Fans can watch the action at Boulevard City across 20 game championships for a share of more than $60 million in prize money — the largest prize pool in esports history. The Esports World Cup will also feature festival activities that include numerous gaming activities, community tournaments, pop culture celebrations, international experiences and more.


Besides Messi, there is Vinicius Júnior, Valverde, Garnacho and Pulisic to watch at Copa America

Updated 12 June 2024
Follow

Besides Messi, there is Vinicius Júnior, Valverde, Garnacho and Pulisic to watch at Copa America

  • Vinicius Júnior will have his first chance to be Brazil’s main focus during a major tournament
  • Federico Valverde is the past, present and future of his national team Uruguay

SAO PAULO: Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the face of this year’s Copa America.
But there are other players to watch when the South American soccer championship starts this month in the United States with 16 teams from the Western Hemisphere competing.
VINICIUS JUNIOR, BRAZIL
With Neymar out injured, Vinicius Júnior will have his first chance to be Brazil’s main focus during a major tournament. The Real Madrid player has become a better striker, rather than just a great dribbler, in 2024, which has made him a serious candidate for this year’s Ballon d’Or award. He scored 15 goals in the Spanish league this season, five more than in the previous campaign. The 23-year-old Vinicius also scored key goals in his team’s Champions League title campaign, including one in the final, and combines to help Rodrygo excel up front. Vinicius will also have another opportunity to spread his anti-racism message, which has given him more fans back home.
FEDERICO VALVERDE, URUGUAY
Federico Valverde is the past, present and future of both his national team and Real Madrid. The 25-year-old midfielder has established himself as a pacemaker for the Spanish giants, a role that Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa seems eager to give him with the national team. This season, Valverde has scored only three goals and contributed eight assists for his club, but he continues to be one of the best passers in the game.
ALEJANDRO GARNACHO, ARGENTINA
Madrid-born left winger Alejandro Garnacho was one of the few positives for Manchester United this season — something that has given hope to Argentina as well. The 19-year-old Garnacho scored one of his team’s goals in the 2-1 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup final. The teenager scored 10 goals in 50 matches for his club this season. Garnacho can also play on the right flank, which boosts his chances of appearing in Argentina’s team.
KENDRY PÁEZ, ECUADOR
Kendry Páez has played at home for Independiente del Valle for two years, with long shots and dribbles that turned into great goals. The 17-year-old striker, who will join Chelsea next year, scored five goals in 29 matches in his first professional season and became the youngest to score in the Ecuadorian league. Last year, Páez had an assist in his Ecuador debut, a 2-1 win over Uruguay, in the second round of South American World Cup qualifying. This year, he became a starter and a key player of Independiente del Valle.
CHRISTIAN PULISIC, UNITED STATES
Christian Pulisic just had one of his best seasons in Europe, scoring 12 goals with nine assists in Italy for AC Milan. The 25-year-old striker’s career now looks less promising than it did several years ago when he played for Borussia Dortmund as a young right winger, but he can still score goals, give smart passes and read the game. Pulisic also proved this season he could play on the left and even in the midfield as a sort of playmaker.
SANTI GIMENEZ, MEXICO
Santi Gimenez had a prolific season at Dutch club Feyenoord, making some Mexican watchers believe the team has a shot at winning the Copa America. The 23-year-old Argentina-born striker scored 23 goals and had six assists to help his team finish second in the Dutch league. His coach, Arne Slot, just joined Liverpool and could well take the target man to Anfield. Giménez has skill, power, speed and calm in front of opposing goalkeepers. Dutch players have compared him to a young Robin van Persie.


Noor Slaoui: 1st Arab woman to represent MENA in equestrian sports at Paris 2024 Olympics

Updated 12 June 2024
Follow

Noor Slaoui: 1st Arab woman to represent MENA in equestrian sports at Paris 2024 Olympics

  • Achievement marks a milestone in her career and for equestrian sports in the MENA region
  • Slaoui is dedicated to promoting the development of equestrian sports in the region

DUBAI: Noor Slaoui, a 29-year-old Moroccan, has become the first Arab female equestrian to represent Africa and the Middle East after qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics, it was announced on Wednesday.
The professional rider has officially qualified for the Olympics, becoming one of two representatives from Africa and the Middle East, a media statement said.
Slaoui’s journey to this prestigious event marks a significant milestone in her career and for the region’s equestrian sports.
The 29-year-old is dedicated to promoting the development of equestrian sports in the MENA region, with the aim of inspiring greater representation in the coming years.
“I am honored and excited to represent my region at the Paris 2024 Olympics. This journey has been a testament to the dedication and support of my team and the incredible bond with my horses,” she said.
Slaoui said that she looked forward to challenging herself and showcasing the talent from the MENA region on the Olympic stage.
“While medals are a goal, my focus is on building a strong foundation for success in the years to come,” she said.
Her passion for horses began in childhood while exploring Morocco’s landscape on horseback. This early love of animals and nature evolved into a dream of making a career of her equestrian interests.
After attaining her baccalaureate at 18, Slaoui took a gap year and moved to France. She earned her riding instructor certification at the National Riding School in Saumur, setting her on the path to equestrian sports and competition.
Later, she moved to the UK to pursue her journey and studied political science at the University of Warwick. It was during that time that when she discovered eventing, often described as the “triathlon of equestrian sports.”
Working with professional riders to refine her skills, the Moroccan managed to balance her practical experience and academic studies.
After meeting her coach and business partner, Deborah Fellous, on graduation they launched her professional riding career, representing group F — “Africa & Middle East” — on the international stage.
Currently, they manage a professional yard in England, home to 17 horses, dedicated to breeding, training and preparing them for top-tier competitions.
Over the past seven years, Slaoui has achieved several notable milestones, becoming the first Moroccan female rider to compete internationally in eventing, and representing the MENA region at the World Championships for Young Horses in 2022 and 2023.
She also participated in Nations Cup events and secured top 10 finishes in 4-star competitions.