Sonny Anderson believes Pep Guardiola didn’t learn anything from Louis Van Gaal that helped him become a coach, rather the Dutchman inherited his understanding of the “Barcelona game” from his captain.
Guardiola played under Van Gaal for three seasons from 1997-2000 and won two La Liga titles.
He left at the end of the 1999-00 season for his first stint in charge of the Netherlands national team, whilst Guardiola eventually inherited the Camp Nou coach’s job in 2008.
In an exclusive interview with Goal, Anderson said: "I think he [Guardiola] did not learn anything from Van Gaal.
“Pep already had everything as a player to become the great coach he is. For me, it was Van Gaal who learned from Pep to play the Barcelona game.
“Van Gaal liked the long passes and Guardiola the short ones, and from these conversations the style we practised during those years was defined.
“Van Gaal gave certain instructions and then, within the field, Pep directed to the team based on how Barcelona had to do it by style and history. It was Guardiola who taught Van Gaal how the team had to play."
Van Gaal’s time at Camp Nou coincided with the debuts of Barca legends Carlos Puyol and Xavi, both of whom became central figures in the side managed by Guardiola that won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011.
"I expected it,” said Anderson. “It's difficult for players of that level to be in the same team at home. Puyol was always a great defender and from the first day he came to train with us he showed us his character.
“Xavi had a lot of quality and he was already starting. They were able to do very good things and they grew up together since they were little, they knew what they had to do."
Barca visit Lyon for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, and will face a side that has already beaten two of this season’s favourites for the European crown.
The Ligue 1 side defeated Manchester City on the opening matchday of this year’s competition, and earlier in February ran out winners against French champions Paris St Germain.
"If Barcelona goes to Lyon thinking it will win easily, it will be the opposite,” said Anderson, who represented both sides during his playing career.
“They are a team with quality players who tend to increase their performance against the most powerful teams and I think that they can even beat Barcelona in France.
“You can have it more expensive but in Lyon Barcelona should be very careful."