Man City boss Pep Guardiola admits which Barcelona and Spain World Cup 2023 star he "completely loves"
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hailed the impact that this summer's World Cup will have on the future of the women’s game ahead of this weekend's final between England and Spain in Sydney.
The 52-year-old City boss shared his thoughts on the tournament as a whole and paid tribute to the pioneers of the women’s game, such as Megan Rapinoe - though there was one Spanish star he singled out for special praise.
"I've seen the stadiums in Australia full. I’ve seen the semi-final both Spain and especially Australia, a home and local team against England. It’s so nice. I can’t imagine the under-12s, 13, 14 ,15 years like they all the fantastic women and girls playing football and maybe they dream to play there. As much as teenagers do sports, whatever it is, above many bad things in life" said Guardiola.
"Aitana Bonmati is a football player who has me completely in love with her for the way she plays.
"I would say she is like the women's (Andrés) Iniesta playing for Barcelona. The current Barcelona team have made an incredible impact in the women's team in football. Of course, I have some connections with a lot of Barcelona you know what it means to me. But at the same time in England, I know a few girls who play here in Manchester City and they are in the final.
Bonmati, the favourite to win this Women's Ballon d'Or award this year, has been outstanding throughout the last 12 months as she won Liga F and the UEFA Women's Champions League with Barca and will now hope to add the World Cup to her impressive list of honours.
The Manchester City boss admits he will be keeping a close eye on the final between England and Spain, with City stars Lauren Hemp, Alex Greenwood, Chloe Kelly, Ellie Roebuck, Esme Morgan and Laura Coombs all part of the Lionesses squad alongside former Blues heroes Keira Walsh, Lucy Bronze and Georgia Stanway.
“I am pretty sure both teams will play good. What Sarina (Wiegman) has done with the Euros at home winning and again a final which shows consistency. Personally, I am very pleased and hopefully step FIFA and all the federations can support.
“It’s the greatest notice for the future of the women and girls generation of football. I think they have arrived to stay. What they have done since the United States of America with many [players such as] Megan Rapinoe and important figures there demanding the position in world football that they deserve to be.
"I can imagine girls seeing (Alessia) Russo, (Lucy) Bronze and all the fantastic women playing football and they can dream to play there. It's really important and they've made an incredible contribution. I will be there on Sunday morning at 11am watching the final" said the City head honcho.