Former Barcelona manager Charlie Rexach claims Manchester United job offer caused a real rift between one-time-friends Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova and was teh deciding factor for Guardiola to leave Barcelona at the time when he did.
Rexach was talking to a Catalan paper Regio7 and said how the two (Guardiola and Vilanova) were offered to take over at Old Trafford after Sir Alex left Manchester United after 2012-13 season.
Pep Guardiola left Barcelona at the end of 2011-12 season knowing that an offer from United was imminent as the red devils had singled out Guardiola as the man to replace Sir Alex at Old Trafford. At first both seemed to be interested with the offer but the conflict between the two arose when Vilanova decided to take over the Barcelona job.
Pep Guardiola was interested in taking over at Manchester United as it was revealed in the book Pep Confidential. Upon his first visit to Old Trafford, Guardiola had said, “I like this place. I could see myself coaching here one day.’
Guardiola’s decision to join United was affected when came to know of Vilanova’s intentions of becoming the next Barcelona manager. Rexach understands: ‘At first Pep seemed to understand the decision but in the end it bothered him.’
Things turned very bad between the two one-time-friend when Tito was receiving Cancer treatment in New York and despite being there Pep Guardiola never visited him in hospital. Rexach said:
Pep knew [he was there] because the two wives had bumped into each other during his time there.’
As things stood, Guardiola became Bayern Munich’s manager and Vilanova took over at Barcelona. One can only wonder had Guardiola and Vilanova being on the same page and pursued the Manchester United job together we could have been witnessing a whole new playing style at Old Trafford.
Till this day, Pep Guardiola is seen as the eventual successor at Manchester United. Guardiola has the free style of play in his teams which is associated with teams from Old Trafford over the years and once Van Gaal’s reign will be over, Guardiola will again be asked to take the biggest managerial job in club football.