Pep Guardiola snubs Barcelona legends when naming the 'most talented' player he played alongside

Pep Guardiola snubs Barcelona legends when naming the 'most talented' player he played alongside

Pep Guardiola decided against naming a Barcelona legend as the 'most talented' player he played with during his career.

The Spaniard has formed a legendary career as a manager, with most of his success arriving across spells with Barcelona and Manchester City.

A three-time Champions League winner and modern-day tactical pioneer, Guardiola has achieved everything there is to achieve in management - and almost every manager is trying to replicate him.

As a player, Guardiola was a defensive midfielder who played under the legendary Johan Cruyff, with his own role as a deep-lying playmaker typifying many of the qualities he asks for from his players as a manager.

He spent most of his career at Barcelona, coming through the club's famed La Masia system before departing in 2001.

He had short spells at various clubs, including Roma and Al Ahli, before retiring as a player in 2006, aged 35.

Guardiola never played in English football, although did once reveal he had talks to join newly-promoted Premier League side Wigan in 2005.

In Spain, Guardiola played alongside some of Barcelona's most iconic players, including Ronald Koeman, Ronaldo and Luis Enrique.

But, while speaking at an event in Cuneo, Italy, last weekend (via Gazzetta dello Sport / Football Italia), Guardiola chose the 'most talented' player he had ever played with - and it wasn't a former Barca team-mate.

Instead, he opted for Italy legend Roberto Baggio, who he played alongside at Brescia between 2001 and 2003. Given Baggio was between 34 and 36 at that stage, it is some compliment as to just how good he was in his prime.

Baggio, who played as an attacking midfielder or second striker throughout his career, won the Ballon d'Or in 1993 and was named as part of the FIFA 100, celebrating the best players of the 20th century.

A set-piece specialist, the Italian scored over 300 goals during his career for club and country, and helped his nation to finish as runners-up in the 1994 World Cup.

He had a documentary made about his career, titled 'Baggio: The Divine Ponytail', while readers of a certain age will surely remember the popular computer game 'Baggio's Magical Kicks', which celebrated the Italian's proficiency at free kicks and penalties.
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