Exhausted, unfamiliar with this losing feeling and having to, for the first time, think outside of this box he himself has created, Guardiola is a worried man. Despite Xavi single handedly making more passes than the entire Chelsea team and his side enjoying 72% possession they are out of the Champions League and they will not win La Liga, either.
These are troubling times for a team bred for the top spot. The Spanish paper ‘Sport’ ran with the headline “Que Injusto Es El Futbol!” –How unfair is Football? –before stating that “Any adjective is not enough to define Barça’s incredible elimination. Rarely has a team had all the qualities to reach a Champions League final. And rarely has a rival with so little won the prize.”
Built up this high it must look like a daunting drop for Guardiola. He has achieved instant success and is used to being thrown further towards the sun. Perhaps now, like Icarus, he is realizing that his craftsmanship is not quite so impeccable. Does he stick with what he has and burn, or does he make changes?
That is what tomorrow’s press conference will detail. However, with change inevitable and his post-defeat comments heftily implying that Barcelona’s attack needs restructured, will it be him doing that, or someone new?
He has come across as humble before, although this may be a projection created by the People’s Club. Nonetheless, it would be typical of Guardiola to step away from soccer for a while should he step down, out of respect for his former club, but also to recover from a period in footballing history that has clearly taken its toll on the Spaniard.
He has been linked with the England job, but this looks like pure folly. It would not fit and could damage Guardiola’s confidence even further.
We will have to wait and see what he says tomorrow. What must be noted, however, is that Barcelona have already planned to shake things up and Guardiola will have been instrumental in this. Gone is the world tour in the summer, so they can focus on themselves. There are also plans afoot to replace some underperformers like Daniel Alves and Pedro. Next season is in their sights already, and there are plans in place that could be acted upon regardless of who is at the helm.