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Pep Guardiola heaps praise on “so shy” boardroom chief integral to Manchester City’s success



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Manchester City’s success over the last 15 years can largely be credited to the achievements and behind-the-scenes work of Txiki Begiristain, says Pep Guardiola.

The 59-year-old joined Manchester City’s operation in the sporting director role on 28 October 2012, following a hugely successful period at FC Barcelona at both playing and boardroom level.

Begiristain’s arrival at the club alongside Ferran Soriano just weeks prior paved the way for the eventual arrival of Pep Guardiola 14 years later, as an impetus of football experts began to construct a playing squad capable of achieving all in the game.

In light of Omar Berrada’s exit from the Etihad Stadium for Manchester United earlier this week, Pep Guardiola has been quizzed on the importance of the club’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain during his time at Manchester City and prior to his arrival from Bayern Munich.

“A lot! If you take a look about all the clubs that have a big success, they have the same hierarchy, sporting directors, managers for a long time! When that happens, you have – at the big clubs – success,” Guardiola explained.

“Trying to change sport directors, change managers, it’s more difficult because to build something takes time. At the big clubs, you don’t have time. If they believe, if the hierarchy believes in the sporting director’s job, and the sporting director with the manager, and the manager with the players that they have at their disposal, and you lose a game, it’s part of the (football).

“But you know exactly what you have to do, at the end, Txiki (Begiristain) has been massively important at this club, he had been before I arrived, and it was stable the club. He has been really, really important in these years, it’s part of the norm the success that we had in terms of results, and many things, and Txiki has been so important.”

But is it being taken for granted that Txiki Begiristain will be at Manchester City forever, despite some murmurs in certain quarters suggesting that an exit could take place in the coming years and even mark the retirement of the legendary official from the game.

“Forever? I don’t know, it’s a question for him,” Guardiola said. “Always I ask him, come on help me to take more responsibility with the media, sometimes appears and goes there to talk a little bit, but he’s so shy!

“He doesn’t want behind-the-scenes, and all the shots and weapons are directed to me! He doesn’t want it once, but it is what it is, the same as it was in Barcelona. He likes that position, and I respect him a lot.”

Guardiola closed, “Apart from that, he’s a close friend, we played and worked together in Barcelona, so we met eachother since I don’t know, 25 or 30 years. He’s more calm, and I’m more energetic, so this balance helps us to work perfectly.”

Txiki Begiristain and his transfer-focussed colleagues at the Etihad Stadium are expected to be busy once again in the transfer market this summer, as they look to ensure Pep Guardiola has the very best talent at his disposal to continue Manchester City’s dominance in the global game.