Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery has plunged a metaphorical knife between the shoulder blades of new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, bringing into focus the fashionable former Allianz Arena gaffer’s inability to win the Champions League during his three years in Bavaria.
Ribery clearly doesn’t have much of a filter, with the following quotes reported by various media sources during Bayern’s International Champions Cup tour of the US:
“Pep didn’t have a long career as manager. He is a young coach. He lacks experience. Sometimes he talks too much. Football is very simple.
“You can’t commit errors in the semi-final of the Champions League. Thomas Muller didn’t play from the start and Jerome Boateng, having recovered from the injury he suffered, also wasn’t picked and had to watch the game from the stands.”
“I feel confident again under [Carlo] Ancelotti.”
“I need people like him, Jupp Heynckes and Ottmar Hitzfeld…”
Damning words from the 33-year-old Frenchman, particularly those relating to Guardiola’s Champions League record with Bayern, who won the trophy for the fifth time just before the former Barcelona boss took charge three years ago, not repeating the feat since.
The 45-year-old achieved as much as was feasibly possible domestically, with three Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokals, but it’s hard to shake the nagging feeling that Guardiola’s time in Germany will be defined by European exits to Spanish big three Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
For his part, the Catalan brushed off Ribery’s comments after City’s penalties win over Borussia Dortmund in their International Champions Cup friendly, insisting he still ‘loves’ the 81-cap former France international while accepting he is young and still has much to learn.
The black and gold boys at bwin think Guardiola has time on his side, making City 12/1 co-fourth-favourites for Champions League glory, behind well-fancied trio Barca, Real Madrid and Bayern at 10/3, 4/1 and 5/1.
Such a price suggests another City semi-final appearance would hit expectations this term, but the club’s minted owners won’t want to wait another three years for the biggest prize in European football.