Olympic Footballers, Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is mostly known for his life as a football manager, despite being a decent player in his younger years. He is also an Olympic Gold Medalist, being crowned champion of the football tournament in 1992. The games were held in Barcelona.

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This was the first time it was done as an U.23 competition. Pep scored the opening goal of the tournament for Spain, in the 4-0 battering of Columbia. This was really the tournament of Pep, 21 years of age, being awarded not only with a gold medal, but also seen as the best player in the Spanish team.

Another known coach in the game of today Louis Enrique was also part of the team and had a key role. Enrique at the time with Real Madrid played alongside Pep in that fine Spanish outfit, winning the gold defeating Poland in the final at Camp Nou.

A crowd of 95.000 were present and of course special for Pep to win the Olympic Gold in front of “his own” with a packed “Camp Nou” on an event seldom talked about, but for those present it must have been terrific.

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Pep and his teammates are unique in Spanish football as the only to have won Olympic gold. This is also the only major title he won with Spain. He did play 47 times for his country and scored 5 goals, participated in the 1994 World Cup, and was also seen in the  2000 Euro’s.

Pep Guardiola had his best years as a player with Barcelona, adding up 263 league games, but not more than six goals scored. He was a defensive midfielder with a great pass, and had a vision in his play highly appreciated by his managers, one special of course Johan Cruyff, who trained Pep at Barca and gave him his debut.

Later in the career Pep moved to Brescia in Italy, then had a short stay with Roma, returning to Brescia and from there short stints with Al Ahli and Dorados of Mexico. A 16 year first team career ended in 2006, when he moved into coaching at the Barca academy and the next chapters in football life is well documented

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Few or no one talks about Pep as an Olympic champion, but he is, and he can proudly were his gold medal and be very proud of that tournament and again a clear example of how this tournament in a way is a great stepping stone for people to become great.

The names of players and coaches who have been successful in the Olympics are of course a grand group of people who also have been fantastic in other aspects of the life of World football.

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