Arjen Robben considers Pep Guardiola to be “tactically brilliant”, with Manchester City’s treble-winning coach having shown during a spell at Bayern Munich that he is “football crazy in a positive way”.
After taking the decision to leave Barcelona, a Catalan coach opted to make the Allianz Arena his next port of call in 2013.
His reputation was enhanced during another trophy-laden spell on the sidelines, with Robben acknowledging that it was a pleasure to work with one of the very best in the business.
The veteran Dutch winger, who is bidding farewell to Bayern this summer, told Goal and SPOX of the qualities that make Guardiola special: “He is tactically brilliant.
“I had a lot of fun under him and continued to develop myself. Also, because he has used me in different positions.
“Pep has established a very special style of play here. He is football crazy in a positive way.”
The only blot on Guardiola’s copybook at Bayern is considered to be his failure to deliver more Champions League success.
Robben does not see that as being an issue, with a certain amount of luck required in order to conquer the continent.
He added: “We were unlucky with injuries. You will never know what would have happened if everyone had been fit.
“Back then we were so strong that there was certainly more possible. I am really sorry that it did not work.
“Some say Pep was not successful in Munich because he did not win the Champions League. I do not represent this opinion.
“Under Pep we played wonderful football and were three times in the Champions League semi-final. I know that coaches are also judged on titles, but I’m someone who looks outside the box. Football is not always fair.”
Bayern have got no further than the last four in Europe since Guardiola departed in 2016, but Robben refuses to accept that they have regressed and lost touch with the elite.
“No. If you play permanently at such a high level, you are spoiled,” he said.
“If it does not work then, as this season against Liverpool [in the last 16], that is unusual. But our opponent has marched through to the final. That says everything.
“The club will continue to develop next season. New players are coming, some veterans will go.”
Among those set to move on are the long-serving trio of Robben, Franck Ribery and Rafinha.
Bayern are preparing to welcome in a new era, with there a desire on their part to build on the success enjoyed by previous coaches such as Guardiola and continue to chase down major honours at home and abroad.