Pep Guardiola has an eye for talent but not always is his judgement right. The manager has always brought the best out of the players but there have been cases where the world-class players were sold by him, for one reason or the other.
Here are 5 World Class players sold by Pep Guardiola
#5 – Toni Kroos
Toni Kross was not at his best at Bayern Munich but everyone around the world was able to see the potential in him. While in contract talks with the club, the Bundesliga side’s CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the German midfielder that ‘he is not world-class’ and that he won’t be offered anything more than €10M a year.
Pep Guardiola was asked to make a decision on Kroos’ future and the manager decided it was best to sell him. The Spaniard opted to put his trust in Thiago Alcântara instead and Kroos was sold to Real Madrid.
The German has won the league title just once at Madrid but has 3 Champions League medals in his tally. Adding to that, he has 4 Club World Cups, 2 UEFA Super Cups and 2 Supercopa de España medals.
#4 – Ronaldinho
When Pep Guardiola took charge of Barcelona, he made a stunning decision and sold Ronaldinho straight away. The Brazilian was on top his game at that time but had what was easily his worst season at Camp Nou.
The incoming manager thought it was best to sell the player as he did not suit his style of play. Guillem Balague in his Another Way of Winning book, wrote:
“Having decided to get rid of Ronaldinho, Pep now had to tell the Brazilian face to face. Guardiola told him that it wasn’t an easy decision to make as he believed there was still an extraordinarily player under the puppy fat. But he also felt that his recuperation was not possible at Barcelona and that he would have to return to form somewhere else.”
Offered poured in for Ronaldinho but he snubbed a big money transfer to Manchester City in favour of AC Milan. The rest is history as they say and he will never be forgotten any any football fan.
#3 – Samuel Eto’o
Another big decision Guardiola took when he came in at Barcelona was to sell Samuel Eto’o. However, the striker managed to convince him to give him another season to prove his worth.
Eto’o did do everything in his power to show that he was the striker to lead Pep’s Barcelona. Scoring 36 goals in the season was sure to have changed the manager’s mind but that was not the case.
Guardiola chose to use Eto’o in a deal to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Camp Nou in the summer. Inter Milan agreed and Jose Mourinho used the striker to his strengths and won the Champions League.
#2 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Pep Guardiola had got his man from Inter Milan but things did not go the way he thought it would. Signed in a stunning €40 million plus Samuel Eto’o deal, the Swede came in with immense pressure to deliver.
The striker started out well but was soon out of the team after the winter break. There was a change in Pep’s tactics and that saw the Swede often on the bench.
Talking about the same, Zlatan said:
The first six months were perfect, then the manager changed the system, tactics and it didn’t work for me. I went to talk to him. I’m here to talk, if you think it’s for another reason then we can’t talk. I said: ‘I believe that you are sacrificing some players for one player, Messi’. He said: ‘I don’t think this is the case but I understand what you say. I will take care of it, no problem, I will solve everything’. I thought it would be OK.”
“The following game I was on the bench. I don’t say anything, I work. Second match bench again. I thought he solved it well and he was not talking to me or explaining. Third match bench. Then the fourth match comes and bench again. I think something is strange. From that moment he stopped talking to me, looking at me. I go into a room and he walks out of it. He was not a bad person, but the most immature I’ve had because a man solves his problems.”
Ibrahimovic was loaned out to AC Milan and he then joined them on a permanent deal.
#1 – Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure was one player who Barcelona always depended on in the midfield. Pep Guardiola, however, was keen on using Sergio Busquets instead and ignored the Ivorian.
The relationship between the manager and the player broke down completely and Manchester City swooped in. Talking about the move to City, Yaya Toure said:
“Whenever I asked him something, he always gave strange answers. He pretty much ignored me until City’s offer came in. That’s why I eventually opted to leave. I didn’t speak to Guardiola for a year. If he had talked to me, I would have stayed at Barcelona. I did not want to go and wanted to end my career at Barcelona. However, he had no faith in me.”
The two were reunited at Manchester City years later and it was one of the biggest dramas in Premier League history. Toure’s agent, Dimitri Seluk was an outspoken personality and his comments did not go down well with the manager.
Guardiola decided to banish Toure to the reserves and was adamant on not picking the midfielder until his agent apologised. Eventually, the apology did arrive but he left the club in 2018.