KEY POINTS

  • Felix Magath says Pep Guardiola's success in Barcelona as a coach was only because of Lionel Messi
  • The ex-Bayern manager called Guardiola's coaching style "boring"
  • Guardiola has not won the Champions League since 2011

Former Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath believes Pep Guardiola should not be credited for the titles Barcelona won in the past, saying the club's success was all because of Lionel Messi.

Magath thought little of the system employed by Guardiola when the Spanish coach was still in charge of the sidelines at Camp Nou. According to him, Guardiola’s playbook would not have worked if he did not have Messi in his squad.

"Messi won the titles, not Guardiola," Magath told Sport Bild. "Without Messi, this system has never worked as successfully for Guardiola, otherwise he would have won the Champions League with Bayern or Manchester City long ago."

Guardiola and Messi’s combination became a force to be reckoned with when the former defensive midfielder took over as Barca manager in 2008. In just his first season at Camp Nou, Guardiola proved to be a perfect match for the Argentine superstar as the club won the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League trophies, becoming the first Spanish club to win the continental treble.

Since then, it had been a dream run in Barcelona as Guardiola would go on to win 14 titles with the Spanish club, including three league titles and two in the Champions League, before leaving in 2012.

The historic feat, however, has failed to impress Magath, who criticized the Manchester City manager for having a "boring" type of coaching style.

"Tiki-taka only works if you have players who are technically superior to their opponents. For the spectator, holding the ball, as I call it, is just boring and a top team doesn't really need it," he said.

"In my opinion, Guardiola generally too often gets lost in trying to win a game in advance," he added. "That tactic often ends in wrong decisions, which prevent success."

Guardiola has continued to collect trophies since his departure from Barca. He won three league titles in his three-year stint at Bayern before adding two more in the Premier League since taking over Man City in 2016.

But amid the consistent domestic success, the 49-year-old continues to struggle in getting over the hump in the Champions League, failing to win the competition since 2011.