LONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 10 – Former Barcelona star David Villa has hailed Pep Guardiola as “one of the greatest coaches in the history of football” and expects the Spaniard to lead Manchester City to their first Champions League trophy.
City are just one win away from reaching the knockout stages of this season’s competition after a thrilling victory over Barcelona at the Etihad earlier this month.
Victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany on November 23 will seal a last 16 spot and Villa, who was a key part of the Guardiola era at Barcelona, believes City could go on to lift the trophy in Cardiff.
“I think City will be among the candidates to win the Champions League. They have been one of the top teams and now even more so with Guardiola in charge,” said Villa, in an exclusive interview with skysports.com.
“They have been playing great football during the early stages of the tournament and I am sure they will have a chance to become champions with Pep.”
He added: “Guardiola is one of the greatest coaches in the history of football and I feel proud to have worked with him. His style is to have the ball, try to be offensive and attack, and when you lose the ball you have to recover it as soon as possible.”
Villa spent three years at the Barcelona, during which time he won eight trophies, before helping Atletico Madrid win the La Liga title in 2013/14 and is now captain of New York City FC in the MLS, where he has scored 41 goals in 63 appearances.
The 34-year-old expressed his bitter disappointed after his side lost the second leg of their MLS Cup Eastern Conference play-off 5-0 against Toronto on Sunday but insists he will not be calling time on his career just yet.
Villa looks back on his time in his home nation with fond memories and suggests Barcelona will remain the dominant force in Europe for many years to come.
“I do not think Barcelona’s dominance will ever end because they have the best players in the world and it’s one of the best clubs in the world. It’s no surprise that every player wants to play over there,” he said.
“Obviously there are changes with the players with some leaving and others coming in, but they will always have a great team that will fight for titles.
“I don’t know who will win the Ballon d’Or but I am sure it will be between Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar – and Cristano Ronaldo.”
He added: “I think Messi, Suarez, and Neymar are showing that they can play together. They are the best strikers in the world and they have a good rapport between them. They are definitely the best strike-force out there right now.”