Madrid, Feb 21 (IANS) Veteran football manager Rafael Benitez believes that incoming Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola will be a success at the Premier League side when the latter succeeds Manuel Pellegrini next season.
The 45-year-old was announced as the successor to Pellegrini at the Etihad Stadium earlier in February, joining after the conclusion of his contract at Bayern Munich.
Benitez, who met Guardiola during their respective spells at Valencia and Barcelona in La Liga, believes his fellow countryman will bring “knowledge” and “passion” to City.
“Pellegrini is a very good manager and a nice person as well. What Guardiola does or doesn’t do will not change that fact. I have a lot of respect for Pellegrini. Manchester City have won trophies under him. Let’s not forget that,” Benitez was quoted as saying by mirror.co.uk on Saturday.
“As for Guardiola, I first met him a few years ago when Barcelona were playing at Valencia. The club had invited me over to receive what they call ‘a golden pin’ in recognition of the work I had done. At the time, he was in-charge at Barcelona and we had a chat. I was impressed. He was very knowledgeable and passionate about his coaching and management.”
Two-seasons with Napoli, which contained an Italian Cup win, was followed by the realisation of a dream with Real Madrid for Benitez. But his dream ended after just seven months when he was caught in the cross-fire of a no-win political battle with the club’s owner Florentino Perez.
“I understand he (Guardiola) works in a very methodical way. He is someone that will do well because first, he is a hard worker. But he is also driven to succeed. Very motivated to do well. It will be interesting to see what he does with the team,” the former Real Madrid manager said.
“He likes players who can keep the ball, so these are the ones Manchester City will be looking for this summer. There will be a different feeling about them. And I expect Manchester City to strengthen in the summer as well. So if you ask me if he will be successful overall, I have to say that he will.”