Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola revealed he almost joined Wigan Athletic as a player, only to be rejected because he “was not good enough”.
Guardiola made more than 350 appearances for Barcelona, winning six LaLiga titles and a European Cup among numerous other trophies.
But the Spaniard – then in his mid-30s and having just had a stint at Al-Ahli – wanted a switch to England in 2005, with Wigan a possibility.
Ahead of his City side’s trip to Wigan in the FA Cup on Monday, Guardiola confirmed he wanted a move to the then-Premier League new boys.
“Yeah, years ago,” he said.
“I wasn’t good enough, that is the truth. I was old, really old to come here.
“I knocked the door, I tried to come here to play in English football as a football player but I was not able.
“It was the same as when I tried to come here with Stuart Pearce. They were so clever. I wasn’t good enough.”
That time when Wigan tried to sign Pep Guardiola! #mancity pic.twitter.com/q8cXDzfhXb
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 18, 2018
Guardiola’s all-conquering City head to League One high-flyers Wigan as hot favourites to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Wigan manager Paul Cook said he had no plans to treat his Spanish counterpart much differently to other bosses.
Asked if he had a drink for Guardiola, Cook said: “A can of Skol!
“We respect Pep but our drinks cabinet won’t change for anybody. I think we got [West Ham manager] David Moyes a £12 bottle of wine from Tesco.
“We’ll show him the utmost respect and I’m sure by the time he leaves he’ll have a good experience of Wigan.”