By Mike Woitalla
Johan Cruyff, recounted seeing Pep Guardiola for the first time — shortly after Cruyff had been named Barcelona coach and Guardiola was a “scrawny teenager” in Barcelona’s youth team
The Barca youth coaches told Cruyff that Guardiola was “one of the best.”
But over the next year, the Dutchman said he looked for Guardiola in the reserves and didn’t see him:
“So then I looked at the first youth team, and he didn’t play in that team. And eventually I found him in the third youth team.
“So I said to the coaches, ‘You said he was the best one!’ And they said, ‘Yeah, but physically …’ I said, ‘Put him there (in the reserves). He will grow. Don’t worry, everybody grows.’ And they said, ‘Yeah, but we will lose.’ I said, ‘If we lose, we lose. We need to create players.’ And he did very well.”
With Guardiola as playmaker, Barcelona won six La Liga titles and the European Cup.
“The people who control the ball very well, they’re the most important players,” Cruyff said. “And weak, smaller players, to survive they had to have a better technique than the others. Normally everyone grows — some a little later, some at different times, but everybody grows. A lot of things will change but the base of soccer is always technique, always should be technique.”