Ruud Gullit believes the reason that Pep Guardiola hasn’t won a Champions League title since 2011 is because he doesn’t have Lionel Messi in his team anymore.
The Spaniard won the European club competition twice during his time as Barcelona boss in 2008-09 and 2010-11 but despite getting to the semi-finals and quarter-finals on numerous occasions, he has fallen short since.
His current side Manchester City crashed out of the competition on Wednesday night when they lost in controversial circumstances to Tottenham.
Spurs edged out City on away goals after a thrilling night at the Etihad Stadium saw the quarter-final tie end 4-4 on aggregate after City’s 4-3 victory.
Unbelievably, five goals in the opening 21 minutes were not the story of the game as the two decisive moments came courtesy of VAR in the final 20 minutes.
First Fernando Llorente’s crucial third goal for Spurs, which turned out to be the one to send them through, was allowed to stand after referee Cuneyt Cakir checked footage and ruled that the striker had not handled the ball prior to it hitting his hip and going in.
That drama was nothing compared to what happened in injury time as City thought they scored the goal they needed when Raheem Sterling struck from close range.
The scenes of celebration resembled those that followed Sergio Aguero’s famous Premier League title-winning goal in 2012, but the mood soon turned sour as replays showed Aguero was marginally offside in the build-up and it was chalked off.
That result meant Guardiola and Man City will have to go another year without a Champions League trophy.
“It’s because he doesn’t have Messi,” Gullit said on beIN SPORTS. “That makes a huge difference.
“He tried to do it with Bayern Munich. He was close every time, but he couldn’t do it.
“Winning the [Bundesliga] championship in Munich is not an achievement anymore because they win it almost every year.
“And I know that Pep, this is what he wants. He wants the Champions League and I feel sorry for him.
“Of course when he was with Barcelona he had an unbelievable team inherited from [Frank] Rijkaard, who Messi had already made his debut under. And then Messi became even more important. And Messi was vital in a lot of games for him when he was with Barcelona.”
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