Pep Guardiola has coached a plethora of players throughout his career, many of whom could easily make it into the starting lineup of the finest footballers of the 21st century. He witnessed Lionel Messi’s growth from a timid youngster to the greatest player of all time. He observed Xavi Hernandez seamlessly fill his role in the Barcelona squad and later, as a coach, relished in the prime years of the midfield maestro.
He witnessed the rise of Andres Iniesta, famously telling Xavi, “You’ll retire me, but this kid will retire us all.” At Bayern Munich, he worked with talents like Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, Thiago Alcantara, and Robert Lewandowski, just to name a few. At Man City, he had Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, and now Erling Haaland.
However, in the summer of 2019, unprompted, he voluntarily pointed out the most talented player he had ever worked with. Causing widespread bewilderment, he chose a 19-year-old who had started in only three Premier League matches. He chose Phil Foden.