Pep Guardiola’s four years at the helm of one of the greatest side in this sport’s history wore him down. That was the message garnered from his press conference. The most arresting part was a sort of enigmatic half plea, “I need to find myself again.”
This is not a soulless man. He was clearly not enjoying himself. There is so much pressure to replicate the sort of gaudy success expected of Barca season after season. Worse, with Mourinho around it would never be football as much as a journey to the darkest corners of your soul. Spending two years besting your arch rivals on the pitch while being forced to engage in the sort of mud wrestling your nemesis revels at can sap every ounce of energy while caking you in filth.
Then there was the accusatory drum of UEFA picking its favorites encapsulated by that infamous, ” Por Que?” press conference of Mourinho feeding on every grievance and persecution at the hands of referees. Suddenly, there was an excuse for being ousted by brilliance.
Does this mean Guardiola’s going to act in Hangover Part III in a copious cloud of ganja smoke as he tries to find himself? No, he needs to rest. Probably get away from the game for a bit.