Man City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed that the soon-to-be departing Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has been his toughest rival throughout his career.
Klopp announced his departure Friday morning with an emotional video message to Liverpool fans after nine years as manager.
The news has taken the footballing world completely by surprise and Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso has emerged as the favourite to take over the job according to the latest odds.
Pep and Klopp have shared the spotlight during their time together in the Premier League, with Manchester City winning five Premier League titles and Liverpool winning one.
The stats don’t really tell the full story, however, as the title has been decided on the final day twice with Manchester City edging it on both occasions.
Despite Pep’s dominance in trophies and league position, it’s Klopp who actually boasts the superior head-to-head record having won 12 compared to Pep’s 11 out of their 28 meetings.
It’s no surprise the Spaniard has been very complimentary of Klopp, and might be glad to see the back of him heading into the 24/25 season.
In a Q&A with Sky Sports, Guardiola revealed why the Liverpool boss has been his toughest rival: “We’ve faced each other a million times,”
“Second, because he’s beaten me a lot, and that [has] always been a challenge, to face him again and again and again. So, we respect each other – at least, from my point of view, I respect him a lot.
“Of course, we have arguments and I don’t like to be beaten by him, but he’s been my biggest rival [because of the] amount of times we [have faced each other] and the pleasure when you beat him – because you know how difficult it is.”
Guardiola also rated legendary Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson as the greatest manager in history in the interview: “Sir Alex is No 1 for the amount of titles he won, the change and consistency.”