What would have happened if Romelu Lukaku wouldn’t have thwarted DiMarco’s shot? And if Lautaro had taken advantage of the mistake of Akanji to hit before Ederson? Well, today Pep Guardiola, in the accelerated hangovers, would have failed and with him the entire project of the City of Abu Dhabi. The results and resistance covered the work of the Spanish coachwho faced with the impossibility of twisting his approach in the field, worked psychology with Rodri either stonesthe middle class that has risen to the top.
“This Champions gives meaning to everything”
“Today we have had the luck that we have lacked other times”, assured a relieved Guardiola with the satisfaction of the job done. “This Champions gives meaning to everything”, he recognized in a phrase that hid the injustice of the path traveled to the goal that is never valued. Not even in the case of the coach who has changed the way of looking at football with a model that has been rethought as many times as a limit has been found to stop his dominance.
Although “Barça is Barça”, as Pep admitted excitedly, the first European Cup with the Manchester City it is his best work. Because behind the story of the waste lies a painstaking work of selection and individual training with players like John Stoneswho ended up in the structure of the sky blues in 2016 for 55 million euros. Probably twice its market value, but each pound is justified after the exhibition against Inter.
Strategic investment of 1,240 million
The center-back, midfielder or full-back that Guardiola has molded and who complies with the maxim that the Spaniard asks for: to play at his command, you have to know how to do it in at least two positions and know three languages. Yes, Manchester City have invested 1.240 million since the Catalan landed in 2017, but it is a lower amount than that spent, for example, by Chelsea (1,620), an example contrary to that of the ‘citizen’. Investment versus waste. Not so far from spending on transfers from Barça (1,280) or Juventus (1,270).
Stones’ is just one of the strategic signings, to which others could be added such as Rodri Hernandez, for which Manchester City paid 70 million to Atlético in 2019; either Ruben Dias, incorporated from Benfica for 71 million in 2020. With Guardiola’s work, all these players will end up being worth more than they cost. Except in the case of Erling Haaland, Manchester City has not entered the war of figures with media signings. The extra cost of each executed operation has been considered at all times from the surplus value that Guardiola can generate.
Stones, like Alves, Lahm or Cancelo
The Champions League won against Inter was the certification required by football capitalism, where successes are the only way to validate theories like the one that has made Stones one of the great sensations of the season. It is one of the last great inventions of Guardiola. In the 2019/2020 season, at that time only a center back, the English international was relegated to a secondary plan with the arrivals of Rúben Dias and Nathan Aké.
But the structures proposed by the Spanish coach are not monolithic. Stones understood Guardiola’s list of demands better than anyone and he became self-critical to the core, changing his way of training and even eating. He tells that he drew a learning curve that seemed unattainable. However, he has surpassed it by far, supervised by a coach who has set up a total player, as he already did with Dani Alves at FC Barcelona, with Philip Lahm at Bayern or with joao cancel at Manchester City.
Stones, the one who cried the most in the 2021 final
Stones ceased to be a mere center-back and became a center-back with a start, like in the ‘masterclass’ against Real Madrid. Or on a side that breaks between the lines, a role that allowed Manchester City to survive in the final. His creativity was enough to show that the English side was alive in a game where Inter showed up with all their forcefulness. Stones was the footballer who cried the most in the 2021 final lost against Chelsea and the one who celebrated the triumphant victory against Inter the most.
“This is what we were missing. I’m very grateful and happy. It’s a pleasure to be part of this team and to be able to create this story. It’s clear that I’m still learning, I don’t think I’m the best, but I’ve left everything,” he reflected. after achieving European glory. “Before, these types of matches ate John (Stones) a ‘tip’ and now it’s the opposite.”Guardiola proudly declared about the umpteenth of his successful creations.