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Introducing Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola

The central Catalonian village of Santpedor in Spain boasts the proud total of 252 inhabitants. Pride is the first emotion each and every one of them will feel when contemplating Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola i Sala, comfortably the community’s most famous son, who left home to join Barcelona as a boy and went on to leave an indelible mark on the legendary football club.

Guardiola was taken on by the Barça youth academy at the age of 13 and developed into a talented defensive midfielder. He made his first-team debut for the Catalan giants as a 19-year-old, and laid hands on the European Champions’ Cup under coach Johan Cruyff another two years later in 1992, also winning Olympic gold with Spain the same year. The man capped 47 times by his country collected a total of 16 winners’ medals in 17 years as a player with Barcelona, where he also captained the side from the 1997/98 season.