Pep Guardiola won many trophies during his time as a player and manager at Barcelona, and although he has moved on, he is still wishing well for his old club.
Guardiola’s Bayern Munich defeated Barcelona 3-2 today in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal, but Barca still advanced on aggregate.
[ RECAP: Barca into UCL final on aggregate ]
Bayern’s chances of advancing were effectively over at halftime considering the aggregate deficit they faced, but the Bavarians did not fold and pulled out an impressive win, despite the fact they did not advance.
Following the match, Guardiola not only praised his side’s play, but also the play of one of his former players Lionel Messi.
Pep said Messi is in some of the best form of his career, and wished Barcelona good luck in the Champions League final, which will take place on June 6th.
Messi is just incredible, really strong, really fast, back to his best just as when I used to train him. He is the best player of all time. I can compare him with Pele. I am very proud of the years we spent together.
When Barca have the ball they are extremely strong. I hope in Berlin they can win the fifth European Cup.
We tried everything. But we had a lot of problems (with injuries) and when you play with so many problems for two months and the players keep charging forward then the team deserves a big compliment.”
While Messi didn’t score today, his brilliant two-goal performance in the first leg gave Bayern a hill that was nearly impossibly to climb. On the season, Messi has scored 53 goals in all competitions. When he’s not scoring, he’s passing to his strike partners Luis Suarez and Neymar, with the three combining for an astounding 113 goals and 53 assists this year.
Messi (10) and Neymar (9) are the first teammates to both score at least nine goals each in the same Champions League campaign. If they keep up a production rate like that, it will be a tall order to stop Barca’s attack in the final, no matter who the opposing team is.