Pep Guardiola reveals respect for Chelsea’s golden generation

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola speaks of his respect for Chelsea's seasoned players ahead of Wednesday's semi-final

pep guardiola
Pep Guardiola's side take on Chelsea on Wednesday night Photo: The Sport Review

pep guardiola

Pep Guardiola has revealed his admiration for Chelsea’s ‘golden generation’ ahead of the first leg of Barcelona’s Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

The Spanish champions face the London outfit for the 11th time in Uefa competition on Wednesday, with three wins apiece and four draws.

Their latest meeting came in 2009, when Guardiola’s men outfoxed Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea side in the last four.

And despite the personnel changes at the club, the Barça boss is well-drilled on the Blues’ strengths from their previous meetings.

“Chelsea still have the same spirit, the same soul, the same formation [from the semi-final in 2009],” said Guardiola.

“Of course they’ve changed their manager and a couple of players but the main ones are still there.

“I do admire that generation of Chelsea players because they’ve done very well in the past six or seven years.

“They have reached the semi-finals and finals quite regularly in European competitions.”

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimović accused his former club of gamesmanship after the Serie A outfit’s 3-1 second-leg defeat by the holders in the quarter-final clash at the Camp Nou last month.

But Guardiola, who signed Ibrahimović from Internazionale in 2009 before the Swedish international returned to Italy a season later, dismissed the striker’s claims and insisted his side are only concerned with playing attractive football.

“Mr Ibrahimovic played with his team-mates [at Barcelona] so he knows better than the rest of the world the quality of these players,” added Guardiola.

“They are just focused on playing: take the ball, pass the ball, take the ball, pass the ball. Diving is for the swimming pool.”

Kieran Trippier speaks at England media conference (Photo: Sky Sports / Screen grab)
'He has his heart set on a move': Reporter claims Kieran Trippier wants Man United switch
Jurgen Klopp
Journalist: Liverpool FC have been scouting Donyell Malen for many months
Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo (Photo: Spurs TV)
Journalist: Tottenham want to sign FC Porto winger Jesus Corona
Romelu Lukaku
Steve Nicol warns Chelsea FC about move to sign Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku
Tammy Abraham
Chelsea FC could agree to send Tammy Abraham to Arsenal on loan - report
Kieran Trippier speaks at England media conference (Photo: Sky Sports / Screen grab)
'He has his heart set on a move': Reporter claims Kieran Trippier wants Man United switch
Jurgen Klopp
Journalist: Liverpool FC have been scouting Donyell Malen for many months
Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo (Photo: Spurs TV)
Journalist: Tottenham want to sign FC Porto winger Jesus Corona
Romelu Lukaku
Steve Nicol warns Chelsea FC about move to sign Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku
Tammy Abraham
Chelsea FC could agree to send Tammy Abraham to Arsenal on loan - report
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature