Pep Guardiola is one of the most successful football coaches in the modern era and has high praise for his long time companion and friend Manuel Estiarte.

“Coaching a football team is a lonely job and that’s why I value loyalty above all else. When you hit the inevitable rough patch, you need to know who you can trust."said Guardiola.

Estiarte one of the most highly-regarded sportsman in Spanish history. Named over seven consecutive years as water polo’s 'World Player of the Year' and in 1996 awarded the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit.

“Manuel helps me enormously in a host of practical ways and is always happy to take on some of the more irksome parts of my job. All of that is vital to me, but more than anything, it is his loyalty and emotional support is a gift."

“When I’m going through a difficult period, maybe even struggling with self-doubt, he is there for me. And he’s there to enjoy the good times as well of course."

Estiarte won Olympic Silver in 1992, losing to Italy in an epic battle in front of his patriotic supporters in Barcelona, only to come back four years later and win the elusive gold medal in Atlanta, beating Croatia 7-5, in their first ever Olympics since independence in 1991.

Guardiola and Estiarte have been close companions for many a year and shared much of their sporting achievenemys in Barcelona. “I regularly say to him, ‘Manuel, what’s your take on this?’ and can always rely on getting an honest, intelligent response.

Estiarte is astute in every form and its this, along with his steep history and greatness, at the highest level in sport, that the Manchester City coach relies.

“He interprets body language brilliantly, too, and knows exactly what a particular look or gesture means. The true greats all share this quality, this intuition.”

Guardiola and Estiarte, simply a friendship made in heaven. By Simon Daley AWP

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