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Jul 13, 2011

Menotti hails Guardiola

Former Barcelona coach Cesar Menotti believes Pep Guardiola is unique but that "there are many [Jose] Mourinhos".

Menotti, who took charge of Barca in the 1980s, feels Guardiola has transformed the club's players since taking over from Frank Rijkaard and should take the credit for the club's incredible success in recent years.

"I'm bored by football so I have a feeling that what they now call football is something else," he told El Pais. "I think 99.9% of coaches right now are envious of Barcelona's play. Everyone would like to be Guardiola, but most don't know how.

"It's the result of training with clear ideas, making himself understood and winning people over. It's been shown that Guardiola is more important than the players. Of course, he always says that's not the case, but what else can he do? You can't claim you are the best.

"Look at who Pique was before Guardiola took over. Look at who Pedro was. Look at who Busquets was. Even Iniesta wasn't the phenomenon he is now. It's madness to say Guardiola is only successful because of his players."

Asked if his home nation of Argentina could have a Guardiola-type coach, Menotti said: "No. Guardiola is unique, but even then he wouldn't be allowed to do what he does. They would kill him before he could do his work.

"What we have here are Mourinho-types, who are only concerned with winning, and when they lose it's not their fault.

"A friend of mine who has attended their training sessions told me that Mou and Pep are quite alike in their approach - but on the field, in the moment of truth, they have nothing in common. There are many Mourinhos, but there is only one Guardiola."

Despite his admiration for Barcelona, Menotti - a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1978 - does not yet believe Lionel Messi ranks alongside the all-time greats.

"There have been four kings of football - Di Stefano, Pele, Cruyff and Maradona - and the fifth has not yet appeared. We are awaiting the fifth, and it is sure to be Messi, but so far he is not among the kings. You can't give him the crown after five years.

"For him to be among the kings you would have to see him do it outside Barcelona - to do something like Maradona did at Napoli, to transform a band into an orchestra. Messi is wonderful and has nothing to prove, but he is still missing something.

"There is no doubt he can be the fifth king, but not yet. Messi still has to learn. Soloists need to know when to play to benefit the orchestra."

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