Man City boss Pep Guardiola – former Barcelona player and manager – is being looked into by the police in Spain over his involvement with Catalonia’s referendum held in October. The Spanish government is branding his intention to vote “yes” for the region’s independence as illegal, and is now believed to have taken measures that could potentially have ramifications for the Premier League manager.
A fervent supporter of Catalonia’s independence
The Catalan manager showcased his support the region’s self-autonomy as he appeared at the pro-independence rally during last summer, together with the president of the Catalan government – Carles Puigdemont. According to online sportsbooks news, Guardiola has been identified by the Spanish authorities as one of high-profile individuals who have attempted to gain public support for the referendum through influence. A “manifesto was read by Josep Guardiola and intended to mobilise all supporters of independence,” reads a report compiled by the Spanish police.
On a separate occasions, the 46-year-old manager commented on his decision to wear a yellow ribbon during official games. “If UEFA or FIFA or the Premier League want to sanction me for wearing a yellow ribbon then go ahead. I am wearing if for two people who are in prison for defending the right to vote,” said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager.
Guardiola with FC Barcelona
Guardiola, who was born in 1971, joined Barcelona’s youth ranks at the age of 13 and then went on to make his first team debut in 1990, under then manager Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team” that won the Catalan’s first-ever Champions League trophy in 1992. With his influence in the team waning, Guardiola decided to quit leave Nou Camp at the age of 30, at the end of the 2000/01 season. He continued to play football a number of other sides through to the mid-2000s, before heading back to Barcelona to take charge of the B Team.
The football landscape could soon change in Catalonia (source: IB Times)
After only one campaign with the reserve team, Guardiola was promoted as the head manager of the first team in the summer of 2008. Despite lacklustre performances in the first few games, Guardiola managed to eventually revolutionize his side into a winning team that went on to conquer every competition in their path, sealing the sextuple in their first season.
For three consecutive seasons (2009-2011), Barcelona were champions of Spain under his guidance and they clinched two European titles (2009 and 2011), but in 2012 he decided to take a break from football as he announced he was stepping down as the head of the Catalan side that he helped transform into a serious powerhouse.
Bayern Munich and Man City
After a one-year sabbatical, Guardiola returned to football by taking over Bayern Munich in the summer of 2013, where he won three straight Bundesliga titles and reached the semi-final stage of the Champions League in each of the campaigns until he left for Man City ahead of the 2016/17 season.
Just like Barcelona under his tenure, the Sky Blues have been revolutionized in the way they play their football. This season has been remarkable for Man City, as after 18 rounds in the English top flight they remain undefeated with 17 victories and only 1 draw. Online sportsbooks in UK brand them as the main side that will take away the title at the end of the campaign, according to online sportsbooks in UK. If Guardiola’s case with the Spanish authorities gets more serious and he’s for some reason required to be absent from the Etihad Stadium, it could potentially dampen their title hopes, despite finding themselves far ahead of everyone else in the Premier League.