Pep Guardiola says it was defeat to Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League semi-final that prompted him to cut short reign as Barcelona.
That 3-2 aggregate defeat convinced Barca’s most successful coach that he could no longer motivate his players and it was time for him to walk away.
“If you can no longer reach your players, as a coach, the time has come to move on,” Guardiola said.
The current Bayern Munich coach said that defeats are “moments of great sadness” like when “the floodlights suddenly go out”.
“Seeing Barcelona go out against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final in 2012 was just such a moment.
“We were better than our opponents, but then conceded an unnecessary goal in the return leg, and before we knew it we were out of the competition.
“That was a really tough defeat for me. I felt like I could no longer reach my team,” Guardiola said in an interview with one of Bayern’s sponsor’s, the Audi car company.
A 90th minute goal by Fernando Torres in the second leg at Barcelona earned a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou and a 3-2 victory on aggregate.
Guardiola said the defeat prompted his decision to end his phenomenally successful four years in charge of Barcelona during which time they won 14 trophies including two Champions League titles.
Barcelona were “incredibly successful”, he added.
“Fourteen titles with the space of just four years meant it was the best period in the club’s history.
“But it can also be a curse. I found it increasingly difficult to motivate both myself and my team.”
God only knows how he’ll cope with life at Bayern Munich. At least in Spain, he had Real Madrid to keep the competitive juices flowing. In Germany, he inherited an all conquering treble-winning side, and has thus far managed to take them on an unbeaten domestic run which has seen them extend their dominance over the rest of the Bundesliga to chasmic proportions.