Pep departure ends cycle at Barca, says Cruyff

24 May 2012 06:17

Former Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff says the Catalan club will see the end of a cycle when Pep Guardiola coaches them for the last time in the King's Cup final on Friday.

"With Guardiola, one cycle ends and another begins, and I don't mean it in a negative sense," the 65-year-old Cruyff said in an interview published Thursday before Guardiola's side take on Athletic Bilbao.

"It would be nice if he could close the circle winning," Cruyff told the Barcelona-based El Periodico.

But Cruyff had little praise for Barcelona's existing management team, voted in by club members in 2010 and led by Sandro Rosell, who took over the presidency from former club boss Joan Laporta.

Guardiola, 41, announced April 27 he was quitting because he was exhausted after four years as coach. The club named his deputy, 42-year-old Tito Vilanova, as successor.

Asked if he understood Guardiola's exhaustion, Cruyff said: "Yes, of course. Terrible exhaustion. Previously he was surrounded by people with weight who disappeared. He was more alone," he said.

"Those who came in after the election had criticised the previous management so you think: 'Are those who were critical going to help me now?'," said Cruyff.

"If the same people who have to take charge have criticised all those who helped you, without wanting it that creates conflict," he added.

"From then on, the problem was all Pep's. He had to deal with other problems than football. It exhausts you much more than you can imagine because no-one likes that."

Guardiola led Barcelona to three Spanish leagues, two Champions Leagues, two FIFA World Club Cups, two UEFA Supercups, three Spanish Supercups and, so far, one Spanish King's Cup.

Cruyff declined to judge Guardiola's successor.

"You have to wait until he starts, until he does things and then decide if it's going well or not so well. But they are sowing doubts, as happened with Pep, though he had the blessing of people who could support him."

Asked about some calls for Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho to take charge, Cruyff said: "It's not only about winning," and he had some tough words for Chelsea's Champions League win by penalties over Bayern Munich.

"We have just seen the Champions League Final. The only people in the whole world who are happy are those who live in Chelsea. No-one else, only the people from the Chelsea district," he said.

"And it is absolutely not for lack of quality, if you look at what Chelsea did in the final minutes. Why didn't they do that from the start? Why do you have to wait to the end for what you should be doing from the start?"

A three-time European Footballer of the Year, Cruyff started his career as a teenager at Ajax before joining Barcelona, whom he then coached to the 1992 European Cup and four straight league titles between 1991 and 1994.

Source: AFP