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4.6 out of 5 stars93
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 20 November 2012
This is a very good book, Guillem's reputation as a journalist is well known and established, and it shines through here, with him using his contacts well to produce this book. It shows Pep in an interesting light with the insider things. From the 0-1 defeat at Numancia in his first league game to the 3-0 win over Bilboa in the last game, and everything in between. You'll learn a lot from this book.
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on 19 October 2013
My interest in watching football has slowly increased in recent years
after a belated start. The success of Barcelona FC could not go unnoticed
even by a novice like myself. I wanted to know more and find out what separates
the big successful clubs. Also, to know how much the team manager really matters
amongst a large staff entourage.

I enjoyed this book immensely as the author clearly is well connected with
many luminaries in European Football and with Barcelona FC in particular.
The Writer's personal interviews and quotations are numerous. His
passion and knowledge are also acutely apparent.

The most enjoyable aspect of the book for me was the fact that many great
insights were highlighted as to how to manage a talented group of people
(in this instance footballers) into a unit following a vision in a competitive
environment. Pep is responsible for ensuring that instructions within the group
are understood and followed so that the game plans may be successful more often
than not. Putting team ideology before individual egos is no mean feat when so
many of the players are millionaires. This book successfully humanises sporting icons,
especially Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The background into Pep's family, his village and early training at Barcelona was
skilfully presented and one can see how the culture at the club (including the fans)
is passed on. The role of great coaches over long periods such as Johann Cruyff is clear.
Pep is depicted as an intense, passionate, honest, private, ambitious and imperfect
competitor. No where is this clearer in his public spats with Jose Mourinho.

I particularly found Pep's choice to manage the reserve side as opposed to the
prestigious Youth Academy interesting and an impressive way start out in management.
Throughout the book the tactics, the philosophy and culture of the team is clear.
Managing with Pep's style of staying focused on the 'big picture' while at the same time
changing his mind often and at the last minute is intriguing. Pep's belief in using
loyalty, culture, the appearance of good manners, humility and camaraderie are as
important as tactics on the field.

The book shows how Pep remained a student of football and learned from relentlessly
talking to peers, friends and family. The Barca style of playing football by keeping
possession of the ball, involving the keeper as a sweeper, using a ghost striker (thereby
making marking difficult for the opposition, having a few captains and finding Messi on
the field (who scored more goals than most) is fascinating. This and attacking from deep
produced great respect from opponents and astonishing results. The emulation and interest
of others worldwide, in the Barca way of managing and winning is already legendary.

If I have one minor criticism it is the inevitable repetition that arises from writing
the book in chapters of special interest. Such as handling difficult players, the influence
of Messi, leaving Barcelona or signing for Bayern Munich (to name a few) This way, facts
and topics in the book aren't always presented in chronological order. Overlapping of
information does occur between chapters when information is relevant to more than one chapter.
This isn't a deterrent, nor an irritant. For me though, the repetition was obvious and not
always necessary.

This is a good read for football fans and especially those interested in the managerial
aspects of the sport. Its a well researched book, written in an easy to read style.
The anecdotes are many and I was left wanting to know more about football tactics.
I recommend people interested in football management to buy this book.
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on 15 August 2013
If your big into football and/or a coach looking to gain an insight into the mindset of Pep (like me) then this book has lots of interesting points which are worth mulling over. Ive found the book very interesting as im reading it from a coaches point of view interested in the way he deals with people and his thought processes behind certain decisions.
If I was not looking at it from that point of view and just wanted a good read then im not so sure, 3 stars maybe.
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on 27 October 2013
Balague is a master in describing motivational and tactical stuff in the business. He could't been more truthful except Pep is now in Germany instead England. But for us Germans that`s fine.
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on 12 June 2013
If you ever had any doubts about the abilities of Guardiola as a a manager this book will put them to bed. It's also very enjoyable from a technical stance (including tactics and strategies). A really good read for all serious football fans.
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on 24 January 2015
Very well written book. Balague goes into great detail on Pep and I gained a great insight of the man I've always admired, and that admiration deepened after reading this book.

The team Pep managed and created during those historical years will be the best team I've seen play football since I was born. The book brings back great memories from watching the team and how it all took place with Pep at the helm. Balague also highlights difficulties Pep had regarding himself, but also with other players.

Very informative and researched book that I'd recommend to any football fan. The only downside for me was the lack of opinions and thoughts from the great man himself, Pep Guardiola.
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on 28 February 2014
the book shares the vision and passion of Guardiola the man and his passion for football. His creative team starts with one vision, an area that English football could learn from themselves.
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on 27 December 2012
Great book offering deep insight into the life and coaching methods of one of the most celebrated football coaches of all time. Guillem Balague shares the highs and lows of Guardiola's four years in charge of Barcelona and the amazing hard work and determination he showed to coach the way he believd the game of football should be played. Additionally the book gives insight into the life of a coach where values and character are central to his football philosophy and this is something that is unique and special about Guardiola.
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on 19 March 2015
No idea what the other person is talking about, and please disregard it. He must be, as they say, a 'hater'. If you have a fascination with Guardiola and the beautiful football his teams play, this is the book for you. I read three quarters of it on a flight from London to Tokyo, and promptly finished it off the next day, with the same zeal that Messi played with under him. Wonderfully written, with amazing incite, I couldn't recommend it more.
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on 5 January 2016
Guillem again balances the game with the man and as with all his books appeals to an audience beyond the football enthusiast. You feel as you really know the man and what motivates him as he never stops learning and challenging his decisions himself. Guillem captures the essence of the man built on wide ranging research balancing the differing perspectives of Pep. I would be proud of this work if Pep and thank you Guillem for a great read
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