Guardiola came through the Barça youth ranks (6 years) and
stayed with the club for eleven years, winning the Primera
División title six times and the European Champion Clubs' Cup
Guardiola was groomed to run the Barcelona side shortly after
joining the youth ranks of the club. After being handed his
debut by Johan Cruyff in 1990 he went on to become the vital
piece of the talented and successful Dream Team that won the
European Cup in 1992 and four successive Spanish league titles.
He played just in front of the back four, linking the play
between Ronald Koeman at the back, through to Michael Laudrup
and Hristo Stoichkov further forward. Cruyff gave him the first
chance to show his talent and he immediately became one of the
most important parts of the "Dream Team" being the brain, the
soul and the mouth of Barça and by the age of 20, he was the
undisputed leader of Barça.
He played many roles by being a great organizer, distributing
the play, keeping hold of the ball and displaying the face of
the team both in the good and bad situations. Later in his Barça
career, he was the player who supplied the passes for
devastating Brazilian forward Romario. Both of them had
developed a system of signals worked out so Guardiola would know
when, and exactly where, to supply the pass.
He also played alongside Ronaldo in his single year at the Nou
Camp and under Louis van Gaal, where he was the key component in
the Dutch coach's ultimately doomed attempt to play his own
unique brand of "total football." It was under the helm of Louis
van Gaal, that Pep was awarded with the captain’s band in 1997.
Consequently, he won a total of six league titles with
Barcelona, as well as the European Cup Winners' Cup, two Spanish
Cups, two European Super Cups and four Spanish Super Cups.
Capped over 40 times by Spain, a knee injury erased any
lingering doubt that he may make his country's 2002 FIFA World
Cup, a harsh blow to a player who also sat out the 1998 World
Cup through injury. He did guide Spain to the gold medal in the
1992 Olympics which was hosted by Barcelona.
In April of 2001, Guardiola decided to quit Barcelona at the end
of the season after seventeen years with the Catalans. He will
forever be remembered in the hearts of the fans as one of their
favorite sons who represented the Cules with pride and honor.