City face Everton this afternoon in a match between two of the Premier League’s form sides but it won’t be a grudge match in the technical area.
Pep Guardiola and Everton boss Ronald Koeman have a strong relationship dating back to their playing careers at Barcelona, where the pair won the Champions League together.
Koeman has reminisced on the special bond he shared with Guardiola and his pride at seeing what the City boss has gone on to achieve in the game.
As reported by the Guardian, Koeman said: “I was the older player and of course there was a reason Johan Cruyff put us together in a room.”
“We played close to each other in the positions in the team and Cruyff mentioned he should learn a lot from me. After one training session when he was involved in the first team you saw his qualities.
“I like young players when they are still open to learn and behave normally, not driving a Porsche after three matches in the first team. For Pep it was a secondhand Opel. That’s normal, and shows that you like to learn as a young player.
“It was fantastic what he did. He was young but he had his opinion. Outside the pitch he was quiet but on the pitch he was involved in football and tactics.
“He was really very clever about football. He is still like that, respectful to everyone and crazy about football.”
Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov has also spoke of how he spotted the coaching talent of both Pep and Koeman from a young age.
Reported in FourFourTwo, the Bulgarian said: “"I always knew that if one day Pep and Ronald decided to become coaches, they would be great at it. They are doing exceptional jobs,"
"I saw Pep grow day by day while in Barcelona, he enjoyed conversations with his team-mates. He liked having authority on the field, having control of the ball.”
However, Paul Merson chose to preview the match by highlighting that John Stones must be wary if he plays against his old club.
Writing for the Daily Star, he said: “Rio Ferdinand was the same when he first started. But he cut out the mistakes and went on to become one of the best defenders of all time.
"Stones has that kind of potential. But he’s still learning. He doesn’t take as many risks now. He clears it when he has to.
"But the way City play will leave him wide open at times, and Spurs showed that if you press City you can unsettle them."