Pep Guardiola compares his Champions League record to Jack Nicklaus and Michael Jordan

‘He loses more than he wins’, Guardiola explained as he sought to justify his record in Europe

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Monday 10 April 2023 15:04 BST
Michael Jordan, Pep Guardiola and Jack Nicklaus
Michael Jordan, Pep Guardiola and Jack Nicklaus (Getty Images/PA)

Pep Guardiola has compared his Manchester City team to Jack Nicklaus and Michael Jordan as he sought to explain their inability to win the Champions League.

City are in the quarter-finals for a sixth consecutive season and face Guardiola’s former club Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday but they have only reached one final under the Spaniard, and lost that 1-0 to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in 2021.

But Guardiola, a keen golfer, pointed out that even Nicklaus, who won a record 18 majors but finished second a further 19 times, and basketball great Jordan failed to win more honours than they actually did secure in their hugely successful careers.

That has been City’s experience in Europe and Guardiola said: “We tried last season, the season before, we tried three seasons ago, every single season but there are teams that you face that are also good and they want to win. My ambitions… I don’t know your ambitions or the ambitions of everyone around the world to be perfect everywhere so my ambitions are below. I like to be in the Premier League where we are, I like to be in the FA Cup and in the semi-finals and being here again. That is my dream, to live it again. To be here in front of you in a Champions League competition.”

Nicklaus won six Masters championships and finished second in 19 majors and Guardiola spent Sunday studying footage of Bayern and watching his compatriot Jon Rahm triumph at Augusta.

“Yesterday, it was the Masters,” he added. “How many Masters has Jack Nicklaus played or majors has he played in his career? In 30 or 40 years as a golfer of four majors? How many wins out of 130? Eighteen wins out of 130. Wow. He loses more than he wins. That is sport. In football, in golf, in basketball, Michael Jordan the best athlete for me in basketball, won six NBA titles out of 16 years. He loses more than he wins.

“All games are so difficult. What is important is to be here, compete well, do our best, knowing that we have to be perfect to try to get a good result to go to Germany [for the second leg]. No more than that.

“I live my profession that way. After that if I lose I lose. I’m not perfect. I’m not good. Every time I touch it is always going to do. What is important is still we are there, and still after winning what we won last season but that is my biggest compliment that I can give as a team as an organisation, and we are still there.”

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