Pep Guardiola is undone again in Europe by his own narcissism.
Yet again, going into a pivotal Champions League match, Pep Guardiola made changes to his team that left supporters baffled and frustrated in equal measure.
For some time, the increasingly obvious conclusion has been that it’s no longer enough for Guardiola simply to succeed in Europe.
Instead, for years now it’s seemed that above all else Guardiola wants it to be clear to fans and other observers that his teams succeed in Europe because of his own interventions.
But, apparently as a result of this, his teams continually don’t succeed – and Guardiola never seems to learn his lesson.
Guardiola’s sides fail in the Champions League because of his egomania
Due to this apparent ego-mania, Guardiola’s sides have repeatedly under-achieved in the Champions League.
For half a decade now, Guardiola has been in charge of the most expensively assembled squad in the history of world soccer at Manchester City.
Prior to that, he oversaw an extravagantly talented Bayern Munich team for three seasons that had won a domestic and European treble under Jupp Heynckes immediately prior to Guardiola joining.
In Guardiola’s defense, though, he’s been a reliable guarantee for many years across multiple major leagues that, if you give him a lot of money, he’ll produce trophy-winning and frequently exquisite football – domestically, at least.
But in Europe, that clearly hasn’t applied for close to a decade now.
Again, to be fair to Guardiola, the Champions League – especially in its later stages – is far easier to extract enjoyment from than it is real meaning in any given season.
Its very nature dictates that the whims of officials, the vagaries of injury-lists and the bounce of the ball can be decisive in a way that will almost never be the case over the course of whole league season.
But across numerous seasons, with the same issues cropping up over and over again, it’s surely time for Guardiola to acknowledge that not playing the team that clearly seems most suited to winning the game in the Champions League is a misjudgement.
Put more directly, it’s surely time for Guardiola to accept the concept of winning in Europe while his players take the bulk of the adulation, not him.