It could not be this time for Pep Guardiola. The Catalan coach was one step away from glory, but failed to reach it and had to settle for second place after falling to him Chelsea at the end of the Champions League. His Manchester City did not perform well overall on the night of Portugal and suffered a defeat by 1-0 that left him on the verge of reaching the maximum continental title.
This was the Guardiola’s first time losing an international final. Even despite the hard blow, the coach of the Citizen team had a gesture that toured the world and that showed that it is possible to be complete even in defeat. The image of the Catalan kissing the second-place medal quickly went viral on social networks.
Receiving the runner-up medal usually exposes sports figures and many times the attitude they take with their award generates controversy. There are those who accept it even in sadness, but there are also those who take it off their neck as a way to evade that symbol that for them – perhaps – represents defeat.
This time, Pep had an unexpected reaction but above all valuable things. The Manchester City manager led the line of his squad, shook hands with his compatriot César Azpilicueta -Captain of the rival team- and kissed his medal immediately after it was hung, with a kind gesture on his face. Far from any anger or disappointment, he showed a facet of acceptance. At least in the public sphere and before the television cameras, the DT chose to go through that moment with integrity.
“It has been an excellent season, exceptional I would say, but we are sad, we have to learn from this. We have given everything and we have not been able to win, but we will come back stronger, “he said at the press conference after the final. And, regarding City’s debut in a decisive match in this competition, he highlighted: “We competed very well in our first time here. Now we must prepare to return”.
Guardiola could not lift the third Champions League of his career. The two that he has so far have been won with the Barcelona in the 2008-2009 and 2010-2011 seasons. Now it will be time to rest and to outline the planning for a new stage, now without a symbol such as Sergio Aguero in the Citizen set.
What is certain is that the future of Pep will continue to be linked to that of City. This was confirmed in the preview of the final, after the journalistic versions indicated him as the chosen one of Joan Laporta to replace Ronald Koeman in front of Barcelona. “I stay safe”said the 50-year-old coach when asked by the press about his plans for next season. The defeat changes nothing; on the contrary, it will make him redouble his efforts to take over the Orejona, the historic desire of the cast of Manchester.