Barcelona and Bulgaria legend Hristo Stoichkov claims that former teammate Pep Guardiola was lucky to inherit an already formed team from Frank Rijkaard at the Catalan club.
Stoichkov, who won the Ballon d'Or winner in 1994, played side by side with Guardiola when Johan Cruyff led Barcelona to their first Champions League triumph in 1992.
Stoichkov thinks the current Manchester City boss inherited a team from Rijkaard that was destined for greatness with or without him, when he was appointed in the summer of 2008.
"Barcelona was already cooked", is Stoichkov's opinion on the one hand that Lionel Messi would be inspired to win 14 trophies in four seasons under Guardiola.
It is a criticism that was directed at Guardiola, 49, for his reigns at Bayern Munich and City – that he is in the right place at the right time.
Stoichkov, 54, said: “Pep's job was easy, as he was very familiar with the infrastructure of the youth system.
Frank Rijkaard made the squadron that Pep took over.
“Messi and other players have already made their debut with Rijkaard. Spectacular things would have been achieved with or without Pep.
“There were Thierry Henry, Deco, Ronaldinho, Rafa Marquez, Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes.
"There were some players that Pep needed to move in, but Andreas Iniesta and Pedro came in, and there was more time for Lionel – so the team was complete."
Stoichkov, now working as a television specialist in the United States, commented Jose Mourinho, who worked alongside the late Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal in Barcelona.
He recalled: “He was a very smart boy. He looked at everything – from training and warm-up, to the work we did with the ball.
"Always a paper and a pen, always writing things down."
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