An emotional exit

Balague reflects on an emotional night at the Camp Nou

Last Updated: 09/05/12 11:50am

Guillem Balague says the emotional scenes inside the Camp Nou on Saturday night proved why Pep Guardiola had to stand down.

"It was only logical that he, who is just a coach and was asked to be much more than that, decided it was too much."

Guillem Balague

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Our Spanish football expert attended Guardiola's final home game in charge of Barcelona and after the 4-0 win over Espanyol the coach - who has been credited with overseeing one of the greatest club sides in history - made an emotive speech to the packed stadium.

Guillem admits that journalists were behaving "like fans" in the post-match press conference and that showed the impact that Guardiola has had.

And he said the evening also showed the pressure that was placed on him to repeat his incredible success.

"It was unbelievable," Guillem explained on Revista.

"It was 88,044 people that came to the game as if it was a friendly, almost. It didn't matter. They came to congratulate him and to thank him for everything that he'd done for Barcelona.

"At the point when everyone knew he was going to do a speech he was on his own. Nobody was hugging him, the players moved to the side and he was walking uncomfortably while songs were being played. He didn't know what to do. He was waiting for the moment when he gave the speech.

"Afterwards, he came to the press conference and for the journalists it was like: 'thanks Pep'. It got to a point when too much got blurred. You were not a journalist any more and you were talking like a fan, even in a press conference.

"Imagine the weight on that man who was carrying the expectations and hopes of all those people.

"That's why he's left. He had to make them happy for another year and another year and another year - and he felt it was far too much for a human being to carry.

"It was only logical that he, who is just a coach and was asked to be much more than that, decided it was too much."


Fellow Revista expert Graham Hunter added his own tributes to Guardiola who won two Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles in his four years in charge.

And he said not only will he leave a legacy on Barcelona, but also on football as a whole.

"I know that the legacy is going to be about the romantic football and the way in which around the world kids, coaches, referees and journalists are going to change their view of football.

"He's improved football if I can use as big a sweeping term as that.

"The trophies are fantastic for this club and their fans, but what the players talk about is this man who has got a brilliant way with words. He's got conviction and is one of football's great communicators.

"It's been epoch-making. That's the legacy; some of it has been some of the greatest, most inspirational stuff I've ever witnessed."