Pep Guardiola is “a genius that football gave us as a gift”, says Dani Alves, with the Manchester City boss considered to have cemented his legacy after enjoying trophy-laden spells in England, Spain and Germany.
The first steps on a path to greatness were taken at Barcelona, with a Catalan native promoted in 2008 from a coaching role with the B team at Camp Nou to the very top job.
More domestic success was enjoyed at Bayern Munich between 2013 and 2016, while major silverware has continued to rain down on the 48-year-old in Manchester – with an historic treble achieved with City in 2018-19.
Guardiola is now widely considered to be the finest tactician on the planet, with former Barca charge Alves going one step further in billing him as the greatest of all time.
The Brazilian full-back told CNN: "I think Pep is a genius.
"A genius that football gave us as a gift, as a coach, as a person. How he got the best out of every player - those that played a lot, those that didn't play as much - creating a synergy with a lot of respect between those inside the team.
"That puts him in a very special position in my life and a very particular position. I think he's a nonconformist genius, a methodical genius, a perfectionist genius and I think that makes him unique.
"Wherever he goes, he can win more or he can win less, but I think a player that works with him will never be the same. Every day is a learning [curve], it's a class like you were going to college. It's a discipline because you learn something more."
Guardiola’s introduction of ‘tiki-taka’ at Barcelona revolutionised modern football, with the star-studded squad he worked with at that time – which included the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta – considered to be the best ever.
That is an opinion shared by Alves, who added on the finest side he graced: "I don't think this team was the closest to perfection as possible, I think that team was perfection.
"I think it's a very, very, very easy question to answer because I think I was part of the best team in the history of football; for the way they played, for the way they did things, for how they complimented each other, it's Barcelona.
"So for me it's always an easy answer. I was there eight years, I won 23 titles alongside my team-mates, I think it was something very historic. I am a small dreamer but that time in my career is still the most special because I accumulated unique things, unimaginable things."