Two legends that have ruled their respective fields during the same time period.
Consider Pep Guardiola, the all-powerful coach who currently has complete control over English football. It would be extraordinary to win the Premier League four times in a row after winning the historic Triple Crown, but his prior exploits at Barcelona and Bayern Munich had already elevated him to a godlike stature in the sport.
Or Toni Kroos, the four-time Champions League champion who also helped Germany win the World Cup. Few midfielders of his period can claim to be superior to him, as he continues to rule in the Real Madrid midfield.
Together, they had success in Munich, helping Guardiola earn his first of three straight Bundesliga titles. Given Bayern’s dominance in Germany, that was scarcely his greatest accomplishment, but the lingering legacy outweighed the actual titles.
Kroos emphasized the influence the Spaniard had on the game of football three years ago when he spoke. Guardiola’s methods have made a lasting influence, much as in England, where even lower-league sides attempt to play out from the back or with inverted full-backs.
Assault and defense in the box were of greater interest in Germany, according to Kroos. “When the ball was in the center, no pundit shouted. We, the middle-positioned men, didn’t really matter.
“For me personally and for German football, he (Guardiola) was the crucial character. He helped everyone realize how crucial control is. Numerous coaches and club representatives visited the Bayern training facility to see his practices and speak with him about his unique style of play. His primary focus was always the midfield.
“The view shifted as a result of his team’s brilliant football. People started to have entirely new perspectives on both football and midfielders. He paved the way for both supporters and coaches.
If stories are to be believed, that romance at Manchester City might soon be reignited. The champions have dropped their previous three domestic games as a result of a bad recent run.
Due to the injuries and suspensions suffered by Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri, the midfield has emerged as a major source of worry. The absence of quality, the one aspect of the field that Guardiola’s teams control, was also exacerbated by the loss of Ilkay Gundogan in the summer.
Kroos, who is now 33, is allegedly a City target towards the end of the campaign, according to a number of publications. The German’s contract expires in the summer of 2019, and the opportunity to play in the Premier League under Guardiola may be alluring.
He shares the City manager’s adoration, and in a 2019 interview, Kroos was praised as one of the “bravest” players in the league. “Toni is a very intelligent, very brainy, and very calm player,” stated Guardiola. When things go wrong, we frequently place the blame on the players who appear more composed or technically adept.
“However, these players are the most courageous and bravest. When things go wrong, the players who hide the most shout the loudest. Toni is the complete opposite; in the most trying circumstances, he is the boldest of all.
The decision to sign one of the greatest midfielders in history, even in the latter stages of his career, could prove to be a stroke of genius in a world where spending £100 million on a midfielder seems to be the standard. How about Kroos, though? Never say never… Who wouldn’t want to get back together with their “best coach”?
Pep wanted me to extend my contract (at Bayern), but what would the point have been if the manager was going to be away again soon? Kroos tacked on. Two years later, he moved to Manchester City, but we’re still in touch and get along great. It was a very educational experience that I will never forget.
Although they have had many other coaches to compare him with, if you ask the Bayern players today, they will still say that he is the best coach they have ever had in terms of sports. That one year of playing with him was fantastic.