Pep Guardiola knew Barcelona “would win everything” after seeing Lionel Messi play for the first time.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner developed into a superstar forward during Guardiola’s four years in charge at Camp Nou after being crafted into a false-nine.
In an interview with Catalunya Radio, Guardiola explained how Messi made an instant impression by scoring freely during a pre-season tour of Scotland.
“I had already been told by someone from the squad that there was a very good player in the squad,” he said. “They told me that he was very young but scored many goals and he was very good.
“I did not know him and one day I saw him and his father at a Nike store. I saw him, he looked small and shy and I thought: ‘Is this one as good as they say?’
“We started pre-season in Scotland, we won 6-1, 5-0 and he would score three goals a game for you. I thought that, with him, we would win everything.”
Barcelona won 14 trophies with Guardiola as coach, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League crowns.
The Catalan coach left Camp Nou in 2012 and took over at Bayern Munich the following year.
Opening up on his special bond with the players he managed at Barcelona, Guardiola said: “I enjoyed the process of building the team; seeing that the changes we made worked and everything was flowing; how they were brought together, the chemistry, the respect.
“They were a group of friends who went out to dinner often; a group that knew how to move forward in moments of difficulty.
“All this was very good, but the importance of leading such a big club as Barca means that you do not have much time to enjoy it.
“The relationship that we have with those who formed part of that group is insurmountable. There are no championships or world titles that can compensate.
“We gave each other a lot. But there is a moment, due to the natural process of time, that things end.”