Ahead of his visit to Leeds next month as part of his book tour, LOL! Leeds Online checked in with author, broadcaster and all-round legend Guillem Balague, to talk Pep Guardiola, Barcelona and of course… Leeds United.
Another Way of Winning
‘Pep Guardiola: Another way of winning: The Biography’ is the story of Pep Guardiola and his Barcelona team; considered by many to be the greatest football team in history and containing perhaps the greatest player. But, after talking to Guillem for just a few minutes, I can already tell there is much more to it than that. He talks about ‘Pep’ and his mentality towards winning:
“It is about the suffering that goes with winning for Pep. The obsession. It was about reaching the end. Each victory was one victory less he had to achieve”
That mentality helped propel Barcelona through a spectacular period littered with both domestic and European titles. I asked Guillem if he thought Pep’s Barcelona was the greatest team in football history?
“I don’t think we are ever going to see a team like that again… they changed football”
As a Leeds United fan (who used to live in Barcelona) I often wonder if our prolonged absence from the Premier League has had a big effect on our global standing. I wondered if indeed we were ‘famous anymore’ in European terms?
“Leeds is a sleeping giant. Everyone knows the story of why Leeds United wears white and the influence of Real Madrid, Leeds is a massive club.”
Even though it has been 11 years (has it really been that long?) since our famous run to the semi-finals of the Champions League, Guillem remembers how that run was reported in Spain:
“With the popularity of the premier league, perhaps people are less aware of teams that are not there. But that year in the Champions League was so memorable. In fact it was portrayed in Spain as the ‘race of an underdog’ but you know it was not like that at all. But seen from the point of view of the general public, they thought Leeds was a small club that managed to go so far and how brilliant it was. But it was like ‘NO!’ This is a rich club with a rich history and this is where they belong actually”
Tomorrow, in Part 2 of our interview, Guillem talks about what the future may hold for Guardiola and Spanish football in general and, how he used to spend his time touring Wakefield’s working men’s clubs with a local band!
Guillem will be in Leeds next month on January 17th at Waterstones on Albion Street, discussing Pep Guardiola - Another Way of Winning: The Biography. You can book tickets to the event by calling 0843 290 8443 (Ticket price £3.00)