View From The Nou Camp: Guardiola At United, Nani’s Threat & Loving Vidic

Q. Do you see Pep Guardiola managing United one day, after all even successful Barça coaches don’t stick around for too long/?

Maria: I know that one day, Pep would probably leave us. Coaching Barça’s first team is pretty stressful since we, as fans, are very demanding, we always want to win. A second place is not enough for us. Plus we want to do it with style, so, there are not too many coaches who have fulfilled both demands: silverware and good football. We also have the precedent of Rijkaard’s team, a fantastic side that broke down over discipline and media pressure. Media and the entourage around Barça (we call it “el entorn”), which includes journalists, commentators, players agents, politics and so on, is a pretty weird animal to deal with too. Pep knows it but I guess it’s tiring at some point. I do not see him, however, managing United. Might see him at Arsenal, but not United. I have no real explanation for that, it’s just a feeling…

Hady: Hopefully Pep sticks around at Barca and breaks another record. And yes I do see him managing United sometime in the future.

Q. What do you make of the current United side?

Maria: I have seen them a few times and I think they are quite different from previous seasons. They seem to be more cohesive, more like a team, I guess it has to do with letting a couple of “big stars” (or the ones that had all the attention) go. They have very good and fast players to make effective counter-attacks, so I think it will be a very interesting match. We have faced only a few teams this season that have actually had the courage of playing attacking football against us, so we are hoping to see this from United.

Hady: I think they are an awesome side with great team spirit who play for the badge in the front, not the name on the back and I admire their consistency and unity – much like Barca’s philosophy of ‘ the team comes first’.

Q. If you could have one United player at the Camp Nou who would it be and why?

Maria: One name comes to my mind: Ryan Giggs. To play at Barça, or at least in the current team, players must bring something special. Beyond talent, we like sacrifice, respect for our rivals and the team mates, and high work rate. At Barça, if you don’t run, you’re dead. It doesn’t matter if you’re a striker (ask Ibrahimovic!). Giggs is the kind of player that inspires his team mates, a player that can be a role model for the young stars. And that fits perfectly with Barça’s philosophy.

Hady: I would most likely pick Giggs. He is a great player, great leader and a legend. Also I’d love to have Vidic – a great defender, a monster nevertheless Pique and Puyol do a great job.

Q. Your predictions for the game?

Maria: I can’t respond to that. I never make predictions!

Hady: I hate to predict scores and I ‘d love to keep this tab for the players to fill up. We talk on the field.

Nevertheless I’d love to party at the Canaletes and Camp Nou on the 29th.

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