Guardiola vs. Zidane. One of the features of this heavenly meeting is its rarity. Guardiola is only 18 months older than him, so they aren’t too far apart in age.
They were legends as midfielders at Barcelona and Real Madrid, where they had many famous confrontations. Guardiola left Barcelona to play in Italy the same summer that Zidane left Italy to join Real Madrid in 2001, but circumstances kept them apart.
Wasn’t it necessary for this debate to take place? Madrid and Barcelona are two half of the same coin; they are incomplete without one another.
After Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid won three Champions League trophies in a row, the trumpets have sounded and the debate has begun: Is it Pep Guardiola’s amazing Barcelona or Zinedine Zidane’s fantastic Madrid?
They combined to play about 1,100 games at the top level; they only met on the field for a full 90 minutes once, when Zidane’s France defeated Guardiola’s Spain in a high-class and thrilling quarter-final at Euro 2000.
Real Madrid had a dysfunctional defense that relied on individual skills rather than a system, a midfield that excelled at midfield tasks’ (keeping possession, controlling tempo, etc.) but not much else, and an attack (not just a forward line) that was completely reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo during Zidane’s tenure.
Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona had a solid defense, a midfield trio that could be the best in league history, and an attack led by Lionel Messi and David Villa. Above all, they were coached by one of the game’s greatest tacticians. They have the potential to be the greatest club football team in history.
The Barcelona midfield would dominate whatever midfield you put up against them (after all, they had Xavi), and Zidane’s dysfunctional 4–3–1–2 system (his favored formation) would only help them.
And, unlike some of the other teams that had previously dominated Zidane’s Madrid, Messi, and, to a lesser extent, Villa would not forgive the opposition for making a mistake or allowing the team’s superiority to be squandered.