Aside from Landon Donovan‘s heroics and spectacular goals from Robert Lewandowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips, the most discussed topic from last night’s MLS All-Star Game was the post-game actions of Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola. After the ref’s final whistle ended the match, in which the MLS All-Stars won 2-1, Guardiola immediately gestured towards Caleb Porter, who was managing the MLS squad, that he did not want to shake hands. This was in response to very aggressive play from the All-Stars and, specifically, rash challenges by Osvaldo Alonso and Will Johnson on some of Guardiola’s key men.
Guardiola had every right to be upset at the challenges, but not for the reasons he hinted at in his post-game press conference. Guardiola seemed surprised at how hard the MLS All-Stars were playing and even mentioned that he now knows how to prepare for next time, should another opportunity come to play the All-Stars. Despite the match being deemed a “friendly,” the main purpose of the game is to see if some of the best players in the MLS can match up against some of the top clubs in the world. If Guardiola expected a more relaxed and low-energy game, then he and Bayern Munich should have respectfully denied the invitation to play. Of course there are far more important matches than the MLS All-Star game, but that does not mean that the match should be taken lightly. If the game has no importance, then, honestly, why play it?
Instead of refusing to shake hands, Guardiola should have communicated to Porter on why he was angry, rather than complain to the refs and making a scene in front of millions. Rash challenges can be very serious and in some cases can severely injure players. With both German and European seasons beginning soon, Guardiola does not want to start his campaign with an injury-plagued roster. Fortunately for him, none of his players suffered any serious injuries.
With Guardiola jokingly mentioning “revenge” for next year, many fans are excited at the prospect of a rematch.
Asheer Mahbob is a soccer writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @el_especial24.