first_img‘Do you want a Pep story? I know you do.’That’s how Benjamin Mendy started his piece for The Players’ Tribune and he was right, of course we did. 2 The article is filled with praise for the Spanish coach, who Mendy believes is the best in world football.He added: “My life has been shaped by managers. Maybe you’ve noticed. I think this is true for most footballers — for good and bad. For me, I have just been lucky to have played under some of the best. And there is nobody better than Pep.“Of course, Pep is the kind of manager players always dream of playing for. But what I’ve learned about life from Pep has been more important than anything I’ve learned about football.“When I was considering signing with Man City last year, Pep and I started to message each other on WhatsApp. I was not only chatting with Pep, but also with his wife — because she was helping him with his French. With Pep, it felt like I was talking to family, not to a coach.“When I got injured in November, I didn’t expect Pep to stay in communication with me. But he never forgot about me, and it meant a lot. It motivated me to want to be the best teammate I could be from the sideline. Maybe I took it too far sometimes. In November, when I ran on the field to celebrate Raheem’s goal against Southampton, after I’d been forbidden from running. I should have been resting.“Was it a risk? Maybe, maybe not. But after the match, I think I saw Pep smiling about it.” The French left-back signed for Manchester City from Monaco last summer and couldn’t wait to meet his new boss.Their first encounter was more memorable than he possibly could’ve hoped as Guardiola planted a big ol’ kiss on his new man’s head.Mendy recalled: “After I signed with Manchester City last summer, I met up with him in Los Angeles during our preseason tour. I was expecting him to say hello and immediately start talking to me about tactics or something. He’s the genius, you know? So intense. So professional.“But this is how he greeted me: He walked up to me with a big smile, he reached out and took my head in his hands … and he kissed me on my forehead.“Bissou.“That is Pep.” Mendy suffered an injury-stricken first season with City Mendy has a special relationship with Guardiola 2last_img

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