A yellow ribbon has been attached to Guardiola’s clothing since Catalonia’s thwarted independence attempt in October. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
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As the coach whose tactics revolutionized football, Pep Guardiola has little regard for convention.Guardiola is a Catalan sporting icon, a status achieved by transforming Barcelona's football team into a revered, all-conquering trophy machine during a 2008-12 managerial reign that become synonymous with quick-passing tiki-taka tactics.Despite wearing the small piece of fabric for months, Guardiola was charged by the governing body only two days before his biggest moment so far as City manager.Given how timid most sporting figures in England are about discussing anything about wider society, it was striking that Guardiola did not feel shackled from speaking his mind. With no attempt to steer reporters back to asking about his first trophy success with City, Guardiola faced further questions about Catalonia's political turmoil.Given Guardiola is so vocal in championing democracy in Catalonia, he was asked about the rights of the population of the UAE to exercise democratic freedoms?The risk for City is that Guardiola is politicizing the club, immersed in a territory the ownership would probably rather avoid. The more Guardiola turns the news conference stage into a political pulpit, the more he opens himself up to scrutiny about the politics of the City owner.
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