A potential improvement for “Chasing Perfection” could have been the inclusion of an actual interview with Pep Guardiola.
“Chasing Perfection” is a documentary about Pep Guardiola, a highly successful Spanish football manager. While some may believe he has already achieved perfection, this film offers a more factual and less sensationalized look into his career. It follows him from his time as a player for Barcelona under his mentor Johan Cruyff, to his managerial career and numerous accomplishments. However, it ends right before his team, Manchester City, wins the treble and the Champion’s League in 2023.
The central argument of this piece is that football has been greatly influenced by Guardiola, both before and after his time as a coach. Celebrity City fan Noel Gallagher acknowledges Guardiola’s impact, mentioning that they would discuss the club’s success and future over the phone. While a few players such as Phil Foden, Rodri, and Kyle Walker express support for Guardiola, the most valuable insights come from those who work behind the scenes. They offer more insightful and honest analysis, using similar words to describe Guardiola as a thinker and a genius who has revolutionized the game. He is seen as groundbreaking and has cracked the code of football, making him widely considered to be the greatest football manager in the world.
There is ample evidence to support the validity of this statement. We go back to 2007 when a youthful Guardiola was appointed as the manager of AC Barcelona B-team, eventually taking over the top position from Frank Rijkaard in 2008. We briefly revisit his days as a player – one of his former mentors describes him as “thin as spaghetti” but notes that his drive for success and his tactical creativity and curiosity were key factors in shaping his own unique style. Old footage from his time at La Masia academy also highlights Cruyff as a father figure to Guardiola, with their relationship being deemed “one of the most significant in the history of the sport.”
The story is compelling and captivating. It quickly moves through his tenure as manager of Barcelona, showcasing his ability to make important decisions and adapt, while also acknowledging the ongoing progress and mistakes made. The years with Messi are exhilarating and the rivalry with José Mourinho is entertaining. By the time he departs from the club, having achieved multiple cups and desiring a new challenge, this should attract more than just loyal Guardiola supporters. Next comes Bayern Munich, where we get to witness Pep in traditional German attire at Oktoberfest, and hear about players who grumbled of feeling overwhelmed after training due to his high expectations.
In 2016, he gears up for his move to Manchester City. It is satisfying to hear City fans dismiss him early on, as captured in audio from radio phone-ins. One fan claims he has been completely found out, while another criticizes his arrogance. Some even suggest he should leave. At a press conference, he famously stands by his ways, citing his 21 titles in seven years as proof. A former colleague recalls people doubting his ability to succeed in England, but he ultimately proves them wrong. However, his journey to achieving the treble, which Guardiola sees as the ultimate testament to his abilities, is not without its challenges. In the 2021 Champions League final, he leaves Rodri on the bench and Chelsea ends up winning. When asked about this decision, Rodri says Guardiola did not provide an explanation. The phone-ins continue, with one fan accusing Guardiola of making the final about himself. As viewers, we can at least take comfort in knowing that salvation is on the horizon.