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5 Strikers That Struggled Under Pep Gaurdiola

Pep Guardiola is widely regarded as one of the most successful and innovative coaches in football, known for his distinct philosophy and style of play. While many forwards have thrived under his guidance, there are a few who have struggled to adapt to his methods. In this article, we will explore five strikers who faced difficulties under Pep Guardiola’s management.

1. Keirrison – Barcelona

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Keirrison arrived at Barcelona in 2009 with high expectations, thanks to his impressive goal-scoring record in Brazil. However, Guardiola didn’t invest much time in developing the young Brazilian forward. Instead, Keirrison was sent out on loan to various clubs, and he never made a single appearance for Barcelona. It was a disappointing turn of events for a player who showed so much promise earlier in his career.

2. David Villa – Barcelona

David Villa was a highly accomplished striker when he joined Barcelona from Valencia in 2010. However, Guardiola decided to deploy him on the left flank instead of his preferred central position, in order to accommodate Lionel Messi as a false nine. While Villa still contributed to the team’s success, winning two La Liga titles and a Champions League trophy, his goal-scoring output was not as prolific as it had been at Valencia. He eventually left Barcelona for Atletico Madrid after scoring 48 goals in 118 games for the club.

3. Mario Gotze – Bayern Munich

Mario Gotze had a promising start under Guardiola at Bayern Munich, but injuries hampered his progress over time. The German midfielder struggled to meet the defensive expectations placed upon him and couldn’t replicate the success he had achieved in his early years, including scoring the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final for Germany. Gotze left Bayern in 2016 with a relatively modest record of 36 goals and 24 assists in 114 games across all competitions.

4. Alexis Sánchez – Barcelona

Alexis Sánchez had a mixed experience at Barcelona after his transfer from Udinese. While he showcased his adaptability and played a crucial role in some important victories, such as the 3-1 win against Real Madrid, he also faced criticism for missing scoring opportunities, particularly in the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea. Despite showing flashes of brilliance, Sánchez struggled to consistently perform at the level expected of him.

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Barcelona

Perhaps the most outspoken critic of Guardiola’s management style is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish striker joined Barcelona from Inter Milan in the 2009-10 season and initially enjoyed success under Guardiola. However, a change in strategy led to a diminished role for Ibrahimovic, and tensions arose between the player and the coach. Ibrahimovic voiced his frustration about reduced playing time, which strained their relationship. Eventually, he left Barcelona and expressed his dissatisfaction with Guardiola’s handling of the situation.

While these five strikers faced challenges under Pep Guardiola, it is important to note that his coaching methods have brought success to numerous other players. Guardiola’s philosophy demands a certain level of adaptability and adherence to his tactical approach, which may not suit every forward. Nonetheless, his track record speaks for itself, and he continues to be regarded as one of the top managers in the game.

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