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While rivalries can run pretty deep in soccer — the red side of Manchester, for example, will be hard-pressed to say anything nice about the blue side of town — just about everyone can agree that Pep Guardiola is a legend of the modern game. Not only did he have a decorated playing career at Barcelona, but the Spaniard continued to dominate as a manager. Can you argue that he’s only taken jobs where he has a wealth of talent and money at his disposal? Sure, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s piled up honors at each and every stop.

Pep, however, feels a bit differently about his resume. In fact, he suggested that, no matter what he does at Manchester City, he’ll feel like a failure.

And if that’s not surprising enough, that sentiment doesn’t stem directly from the football pitch. Instead, it’s all because of Julia Roberts.

Pep Guardiola is a living legend, but he can’t get over the fact that Julia Roberts went to Old Trafford

In the world of sports, there are plenty of different ways to define greatness. Some insist that it’s solely based on winning titles. Others take a more holistic approach and try to assess the overall impact that someone has made on the game. No matter which metric you’re using, though, Pep Guardiola profiles pretty well.

During his playing career, the midfielder was a part of some legendary Barcelona squads, winning La Liga six times, along with plenty of additional honors. While that would already be enough to write his name in soccer history, the Spaniard wasn’t done there. He became a manager and, in addition to revolutionizing the modern game with his possession-based style, kept winning.

As Barcelona’s bench boss, Guardiola won three league titles and two Champions Leagues. He then won the Bundesliga three times with Barcelona and, since moving to England, has turned Manchester City into a juggernaut. While European success has been elusive, Pep has lifted four Premier League trophies, plus some smaller honors.

That all sounds pretty impressive, right? Well, according to Pep, he’s a failure, and no amount of future success will change that.

“Listen, I’m going to explain a secret,” Guardiola said after his team demolished RB Leipzig in the Champions League. “So, whatever happen this year’s in Champions League, winning, I win this Champions League, we win this Champions League, we win this Champions League and three Champions Leagues in a row, I will be a failure.”

If you know anything about Pep, you’ll know that he’s a perfectionist who is always seeking out the next challenge. Maybe his insistence that he’s a failure is tied to that? Think again.

I have three idols in my life. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Julia Roberts. Ok? These are my three idols. So, for obvious reasons, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods … and Julia Roberts as well. So, Julia Roberts, years ago, came to Manchester. Not in 80, 90 with Sir Alex Ferguson winning titles and titles and titles and titles. [She] came in the period, like we were better than United these four or five years. And she went to visit Man United. She didn’t come to see us. So, that’s why, this is, even [if] I win the Champions League, it will be compared to the fact that Julia Roberts came to Manchester and don’t come to see us.”

Pep Guardiola

While everything would suggest that Pep isn’t being entirely truthful — earlier this year, he seemed to give up on trying, or even caring about, winning the Premier League, for example — the level of detail he used does imply that there’s a certain level of truth to his statement. At the same time, though, it also raises some questions.

What did Julia Roberts do to become one of Pep’s three idols? Is he more of a Pretty Woman or an Erin Brockovich sort of guy? Does the manager feel compelled to visit Notting Hill whenever his team travels to London? The list goes on and on.

One thing, however, is certain: Manchester United (or at least their social media team) certainly took note of Guardiola’s remarks.


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