'Win or lose in Istanbul, Pep Guardiola is already the greatest coach football has ever known'
| Last updated
Pep Guardiola should be viewed as the greatest coach in the history of football regardless of whether or not Manchester City win the Champions League, according to Guillem Balague.
Guardiola has the chance to win a historic Treble for the second time in his managerial career when Premier League champions and FA Cup winners City face Inter Milan in the European Cup final in Istanbul on Saturday.
Only the great Manchester United side of 1998-99 have achieved the feat in English football.
But Guardiola has already managed it during his time in charge of Catalan club Barcelona, winning the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles in 2008-09.
He will become only the sixth manager in history to win European football's greatest competition with two separate teams, should City beat Inter as expected.
But even if City suffer a shock defeat at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Spanish football expert Balague believes Guardiola should still be viewed as the managerial GOAT ahead of the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankly, Johan Cruyff and Arrigo Sacchi.
"Win or lose in Istanbul on Saturday, Guardiola is already the greatest coach football has ever known," Balague wrote in his column for the BBC.
"Not because he wins things - 16 major trophies and counting - but because he has changed football."
Balague added: "He has an ability to get the very last drop out of his team and a ruthless, dispassionate willingness to discard players unable to give him total commitment.
"Those qualities, matched by the standard of his players, put him light years ahead of the rest."
Balague went on to praise Guardiola for constantly adapting and evolving his football philosophy, finding unique ways to dominate the opposition.
"When people thought there was nothing new to invent in terms of how to play football, he proved them wrong. Guardiola has built a reputation for seeing things others don't," added Balague.
"Fresh challenges lie ahead. In two years' time, when his contract expires, he will leave Manchester City. He has been surrounded by people who prepared the ground for his arrival, and who have given him the tools to take the game to a new place.
"After City, he will receive offers from national teams, where that kind of work will not be possible. Whatever happens, though, we should enjoy Guardiola's football - the product of an amazing brain."