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Other SportsGuardiola's tribute to 'proper man' Venables

Guardiola’s tribute to ‘proper man’ Venables

Pep Guardiola has hailed Terry Venables for his “incredible impact” at Barcelona and labelled him a “proper, proper man”.

Venables died yesterday, aged 80, after a long illness. He is best remembered in England for guiding the Three Lions to the semi-finals of Euro 96, but, as manager of Barcelona, he had an impact on a young Guardiola.

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The Manchester City boss was a Barca fan at the time Venables led the Blaugrana to the 1985 La Liga title and the final of the European Cup 12 months later.

A fabulous picture that shows Guardiola as a ball boy, looking up in admiration at Venables, has circulated on social media today and the Catalan was fulsome in his praise of the Londoner.

He said: “As a Barcelona fan he gave us the first La Liga after 11 or 12 years.

“His impact there was incredible. He introduced something that had never been seen before, especially a certain type of pressing and the set pieces…I remember how many goals our central defender scored. He introduced many, many things. A true gentleman.

“Unfortunately, he could not win the Champions League in that time, with the final against Steaua Bucharest, but it’s a big loss for English football and for his family and for his wife.

“I read a lot in this past 24 hours, how many players talk about him and he was really impressive. Big condolences to all his family.”

Venables was a larger than life character and Guardiola fondly remembered how he enjoyed life away from the pitch as well.

He added: “The impact in that time, it was about two seasons so not long but the impact on the way they play, I remember talking with friends of mine who did play with him and their words for him not just as a manager but as a person.

“[He was] so funny, singing Frank Sinatra on Catalan shows. He was a proper, proper man.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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