Rio Ferdinand thinks Champions League success with Manchester City will confirm Pep Guardiola as the best football manager in the world.
To do that, the Spaniard must out-smart the most successful coach in the competition’s history in Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti.
Ancelotti is a four-time winner of Europe’s biggest trophy, while Guardiola twice got his hands on it while manager of Barcelona.
“These two are head and shoulders [above the rest],” he said.
“[Jose] Mourinho in years gone by, and he’s doing a great job at Roma, but these two for history and for now are stand alone”, he said.
“He [Guardiola] wins this here, I think he goes standalone as the greatest.”
2001 Ballon D’Or winner Michael Owen gave his thoughts on the pair, and agrees there is a certain trophy missing from Guardiola’s resume.
“I think Pep’s the best personally,” he said. “But I do think he needs to win this competition with Manchester City for everybody to just put the icing on the cake in many ways.
“Yes, he’s done it before, he’s done it with great teams and he is an unbelievable manager. For the general public, they’ll want to see him win it with another team and this is the team that Pep built.
“He’s been here quite a while now. He probably ought to be winning it with the quality (they have). I mean, listen, Manchester City have been one of the best teams, if not the best team, in Europe for the last two/three seasons anyway.”
Speaking about who may come out on top in the semi-final tie, Ferdinand could not be pushed into a definitive answer. Instead he said: “You’d love to have this as the final.”
“One team who’s an institution in this competition with 14 Champions Leagues and one team that really want to get on the mark and get themselves held up alongside these teams with a European Champions League behind them.”
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One man who will be key to Guardiola claiming the Champions League with City will be top scorer Erling Haaland, who has already enjoyed a record-breaking first season with the club.
Owen has been impressed with how Haaland has adapted his game since arriving from Borussia Dortmund last summer.
“This lad’s got everything,” he said. “You often see a great striker that’s got one or two great attributes but he can do anything.
“When I first clapped eyes on him, he was the player that ran over the top, one-on-ones, blistering pace.
“Then, everybody questioned, comes to Manchester City, different type [of football], everyone sits in [in the Premier League], don’t give you any space. You’re going to have to be good on crosses, little cut backs, find little areas in the box.
“Look what he’s done this season – incredible! Showed his all-round game. This lad can do anything.”
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