The pair worked together at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and the creative midfielder has nothing but love for his former mentor
Thiago Alcantara feels Pep Guardiola has only become better and more magical over time, and believes the current Manchester City manager has been able to show more of what he can achieve as he got to work with better players.
The Bayern Munich star first worked with Guardiola at Barcelona and was then re-united with him following his move to the Allianz Arena in 2013.
Guardiola has been widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the world and Thiago has stressed the City boss continually evolves and gets better at what he does.
“I always make the comparison that the coach works like the players. When you put a soccer professional in a great team, he gets better and he makes all team-mates better as well,” Thiago told Goal.
“With the years, he got better as a coach, not just because of experience but he also got better players and he could do better things with them on the pitch.
“He got more magical, more experienced, more tactical, more everything.”
Thiago first encountered Guardiola while he was part of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy and the 48-year-old made an instant impression on the playmaker.
“He was at the Under-16 practice. I was there with my team-mates, and he was just teaching us how to play a positional game,” Thiago continued.
“We were in training and he saw that two or three of us were a little bit different. He came with us and said, ‘What you did with the round ball was great but try doing it this way’. You always take seriously what people with experience say to you.
“You could feel that he was very concerned about tactical things, technical things. You could see he was very good and he was Pep Guardiola, a former soccer professional. You just respect that and you have to learn from that.
“The passion and the commitment to this sport, I think, has been the biggest thing he taught me.
“But at that time, you couldn’t tell that he would be fabulous in the future.”
Guardiola left Bayern for City in 2016, with the reigning Bundesliga champions initially picking Carlo Ancelotti as their new man in charge.
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Things didn’t work out with the Italian at the helm, though, and they appointed Niko Kovac as their new head coach in 2018 after caretaker spells from Willy Sagnol and Jupp Heynckes.
“Niko’s a young trainer. He wants to win all the trophies possible with Bayern, to keep growing with the club. He’s doing a great job and we like him,” Thiago added on the current Bayern boss.
“Pep goes straight to the tapes and tries to explain how they’re opening spaces, why you’re doing things. Niko’s more direct with that. He wants to give you more freedom. He wants you to make your own decisions during the games.”