Pep Guardiola is looking forward to being reacquainted with Ronald Koeman on Saturday – and admits he was once the water carrier for the Everton boss.
Guardiola and Koeman were team-mates at Barcelona in the early 1990s with the Manchester City manager the impressionable youngster and Koeman the experienced Netherlands international.
They are now established managers with glittering CVs – Guardiola in particular – but the Spaniard has not forgotten the influence former room-mate Koeman had on his early career.
Speaking ahead of City’s clash with Everton on Saturday, he said: “When Ronald needed water, he’d wake up to water from me.
“I was younger so I looked up to him. He was not just a room-mate, we spent a lot of time together and he was so generous. Not just on the pitch but off, I learned a lot from looking at him.”
Koeman was a stylish centre-half, a vital component in the way then Barca coach Johan Cruyff – a huge influence in Guardiola’s career – set up his side.
Guardiola added: “He was one of the first central defenders with the quality not just to defend.
“Cruyff bought him to teach us why we needed a central defender like Ronald. He was one of the few guys who I never saw miss an important game. He always played good in the big games.”