Josep "Pep" Guardiola i Sala, born 18 January 1971) is a former Spanish football manager and player. Guardiola had managed Barcelona for four years and had broken numerous records; he announced that he will not be renewing his contract at the end of the 2011–12 season on 27 April 2012. As a player, Guardiola played as a defensive midfielder and spent the majority of his playing career with FC Barcelona. He was part of Johan Cruyff's "dream team" that won Barcelona's first European Cup. He also played for Brescia and Roma in Italy; Al-Ahli in Qatar; and for Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico while attending managing school. While playing in Italy, he served a four-month ban for a positive drug test although he was cleared of wrongdoing twice on appeal in 2009 before the Courts of Justice of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and the Federal Anti-Doping Courts of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). As an international, he played for Spain, and in friendly matches for Catalonia.
After retiring as a player, Guardiola became coach of FC Barcelona B. On 8 May 2008, Barcelona President Joan Laporta announced that Guardiola would succeed Frank Rijkaard as the first team manager. He signed his contract on 5 June 2008. In his first season as manager, Barcelona won the treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. In doing so, Guardiola became the youngest UEFA Champions League-winning manager ever. The following season, Guardiola and Barcelona won the Supercopa de España, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup, bringing the manager's tally to the maximum of six trophies in six competitions in one year, thus completing the first ever sextuple.
On 8 September 2011, Guardiola was awarded the Catalan parliament's Gold Medal, the highest honour. On 9 January 2012, Guardiola received the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award, with 42% of the votes, ahead of Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson, who received 16%, and José Mourinho, coach of Real Madrid, who had 12%.
On 27 April 2012, Guardiola announced he would quit as Barcelona manager on 30 June, after achieving 13 titles in four years at charge of the club. He stated he was experiencing severe physical and mental stress, and he left the team's management to his second-in-charge and good friend Tito Vilanova.
Guardiola's fourth season in charge started with the departure of three players who had been part of the team for a long time, Gabriel Milito moved back to Independiente, Jeffrén Suárez was sold to Sporting CP and Bojan Krkić was sold to Roma. Two big signings were made: Alexis Sánchez came from Udinese for €26m plus bonuses and Cesc Fàbregas, a former La Masia graduate, returned from Arsenal for €29m plus bonuses. To complete the squad two players where promoted from the youth system: Thiago Alcântara and Andreu Fontàs.
The season started with a 5–4 aggregate win over Real Madrid for the Spanish Super Cup. Barcelona won their second trophy of the season on 26 August beating Porto in the UEFA Super Cup final 2–0. With the trophy won against Porto he became all-time record holder of most titles won as a coach at FC Barcelona. He has won now 12 trophies in only three years. November of the same year saw Guardiola coach his two hundredth match for Barcelona's first team. His record stood at 144 wins, 39 draws and 17 losses with 500 goals for and 143 against.
Barcelona ended the 2011 calendar year winning the Club World Cup, beating Santos 4-0, the widest margin in a Intercontinental Cup/Club World Cup final since changing to a single match format. This was Guardiola's 13th title of only 16 tournaments played.
On 9 January 2012, he was named FIFA Mens World Coach of the Year. On his 41st birthday, he led his side to a 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Real Madrid in El Clasico, ensuring that he remained unbeaten against Real Madrid in regular time as a manager.
On 21 April, Guardiola conceded the league title to leaders Real Madrid, after they beat Barcelona 2-1 and extended their lead in the table to seven points with four matches remaining. "We have to congratulate Madrid for their win and the title that they have also won tonight," said Guardiola, after what was his side's first loss at home all season. Three days later, a 2-2 draw at home against Chelsea in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final knocked Barcelona out of the competition on a 2-3 aggregate score. That effectively left the team with only the Copa del Rey to play for.
On 27 April 2012, Guardiola announced he would step down as Barcelona's coach at the end of the 2011–12 season. Stating tiredeness as the main reason for his decision. He also commented that four years at a club like Barça felt like an eternity. His record of 13 trophies in 4 seasons has made him the most succesful coach in Barcelona's history. On 27 April 2012, at the press conference in which FC Barcelona confirmed Pep Guardiola's exit, the team also announced that he would be succeeded by current assistant Tito Vilanova, who would begin leading the first team at the start of the 2012-13 season.
Under Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona were known for a 4–3–3 with plenty of flair with Ronaldinho being the centre point of the attack. Under Guardiola the team has become more disciplined with a greater focus on possession and a far more disciplined and aggressive pressing style. He often plays a high defensive line with the full backs (particularly Daniel Alves) pushing high up down their respective sides while relying on the metronomic passing of Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta to retain possession whilst employing an extraordinarily aggressive pressing style without the ball.
During Samuel Eto'o's time at Barcelona, Lionel Messi was deployed on the right hand side, however, since his departure Messi has largely played in the centre forward role fulfilling a false nine capacity.
During the 2011-12 season Guardiola made increasing use of the 3-4-3 system, especially when facing two attackers. Using Cesc Fàbregas as an attacking midfielder and Javier Mascherano or Sergio Busquets as pivot on the midfield. Johan Cruyff used this system as a basic tactical approach when Guardiola played for Barcelona. Guardiola used this system in a 5-0 win against Villarreal CF because he was short on defenders, and in a later Champions League game against Milan, he employed this tactic with most of his players available. "In Barcelona it is understood that you can win a thousand ways. All are valid. All work. There's little more to say," Guardiola wrote in a column for El Pais in March 2007, when Rijkaard experimented with a three-man backline of his own. "But in Barcelona it is also understood that you can never win and repeat in a way that does not feel right to you—that does not feel right to the directors, coaches, players, friends of the press and the people who go every week to see them.