The English champions have been left out of the shortlist for the annual award, much to the coach’s shock and disappointment
Pep Guardiola was shocked to find out that no Manchester City players were included in the list of candidates to win FIFA’s The Best award this year.
City became the first team for a decade to win back-to-back Premier League titles last season before going on to complete an unprecedented domestic treble.
However, as was the case during his time at Bayern Munich, two-time Champions League winner Guardiola found Europe’s top competition to prove elusive once more as eventual runners-up Tottenham prevailed against City on away goals in a thrilling quarter-final.
Despite their domestic dominance, City were left out of FIFA’s shortlist of candidates for the coveted prize, while Liverpool are represented three times and Tottenham star Harry Kane makes the cut.
While Guardiola was amazed to see all of his players snubbed, he believes City’s status as a relative newcomer among Europe’s elite was a factor in deciding the list.
“It has been because Manchester City has been in this position the last decade. We are new in these situations,” he said.
“I cannot imagine Real Madrid and Barcelona winning four titles and not one single soccer professional being there [on the shortlist].
“I don’t think there has been one soccer professional who made a better season than Bernardo Silva last season, even winning [The Nations League] with Portugal.
“This club, for example, in eight years won four Premier Leagues. It has been quite remarkable. And never in these four seasons was one of our players nominated the best in the league. Never.
“Huge respect for Mohamed Salah [who won the PFA and FWA awards in 2017-18], but Kevin De Bruyne that season, guys, when we made 100 points was above and beyond the normal situations.”
Heading into the new season, the Champions League looms even larger as the one major prize left to win for City, but Guardiola feels the domestic competition has been too intense for them to put all of their effort into claiming the continental crown.
“The Champions League has been an important tournament, difficult to win,” he said. “But I don’t want to go to the casino and gamble everything I have in my pocket for seven games [the Champions League knockout stages]. I don’t want that.
“I think I want to be happy during 11 months. It makes me happy, the Premier League, every game in the cups. When I win, the days after I am happier. I go to the restaurants better, I feel better, I work better with my players. That’s what it gives me.
“Am I going to wait until February to play seven games with everything on black colour? From my point of view, it’s too risky.
“Normally, when you have history behind it helps a lot. We are trying to build it and I think in Europe we will be closer when we win more Premier Leagues and Premier Leagues and Premier Leagues.
“I would sign right now to do what we did last season again. Right now. Not winning the Champions League and four titles [including the Community Shield] again in this season.”
After finishing just one point behind City in the English top-flight last term, Liverpool overcame the disappointment by winning the Champions League.
Guardiola phoned Jurgen Klopp to pass on his congratulations after they beat Spurs 2-0 in Madrid and dismissed the suggestion that the Reds’ exploits had taken the shine off his own team’s achievements.
“Why can we not share the glory?” he asked ahead of the latest chapter in a burgeoning sporting rivalry. “We would like to win the Champions League – big respect to Liverpool. Winning the Champions League has been so difficult, so, so complicated.
“That’s why winning the Champions League gets all credit. But why has been it higher than what we have done over 11 months?
“I’m pretty sure Liverpool would have liked to win the last Premier League after 30 years not winning the Premier League.
“Both teams were fantastic last season. Why do you have to say this team has been better than the other one? Both were good.”