Winner of the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football for the first time, Josep Guardiola guided Barcelona to victory in virtually every competition they entered in 2011. Just minutes after being handed the most coveted coaching award on Planet Football, yet remaining as analytical and humble as ever, the Barça supremo spoke to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Congratulations, it’s been a great night for everybody involved with Barcelona, hasn’t it?
Josep Guardiola: Last year’s [Gala] was [a great night] and we’ve been heavily involved this year too. There’s a bit of cause-and-effect going on, because when you win titles individual recognition comes hand in hand. At the end of the day we’re fortunate both because we’ve won these prizes and because we're happy to have received so much praise for the way we’ve played. We hope to stay on this path in order to live nights like this again.
Does it strike you as paradoxical for a side like Barça, where the focus is on the team over and above any individual stars, to receive so many individual awards?
Obviously they’re a great source of joy, but you don’t become a player or a coach for that reason. You do so to enjoy the game, to put a certain philosophy into practice and work with the players. And then, of course, events like these put football in a good light and we all need to encourage that to keep the sport growing.
What's more, as you’ve said yourself, it’s not the first time your team has received recognition for their many successes…
It’s not easy as the more successful you are the more other teams want to beat you, the more they learn about you and the harder you have to work. But we need to keep working as effectively as we can, as well as setting our objectives as high as possible in order to keep winning.
Both you and your players are relatively young. Do you sense this is the start of a lengthy era of Blaugrana dominance?
In football a team’s success or failure hangs by a thread. It might seem that because we’ve been successful in the past and we’re very young this is going to last, but you have to take things very carefully. It’s extremely difficult to build something good and strong, but letting it slide is much easier.
Plus, winning is by no means guaranteed, as indicated by yesterday’s draw against Espanyol…
We didn’t need yesterday’s game to know that the competition is ever more fierce. But we’re going to keep trying, that’s the least we can do. I don’t know if we’ll keep winning, but I’m certain we won’t stop trying.
Will you wake up with a smile still on your face tomorrow morning or will your thoughts have turned to the next game by then?
There’s not much time to enjoy this. If I was on holiday I’d have the chance to savour this, but I can’t right now. We’ve got another game in two or three days’ time and then another after that. This is just a short break that is good for football and for our club’s image, but now we have to move on.