Former Argentina captain, Roberto Ayala, has labelled Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side of 2008-2012 as "the best team I've ever seen", but also says that the Catalan coach started a trend of football that has “damaged” the game.
Ayala, who won 115 caps for Argentina and also played for Milan and Napoli in a 20-year career, also talked to La Nación about the goings-on at ex-club Valencia and compatriot Lionel Messi in an in-depth interview.
"Guardiola's Barcelona is the best team I've seen in my life, but in a way it has damaged football,” Ayala said of the side that Guardiola, now coach at Manchester City, embossed with a distinct and much-lauded passing style.
"They’re not centre-midfielders"
“Now many defenders want to play the ball out as if they were in Barcelona, and they’re not able to. They’re not centre-midfielders.
“First you have to defend, to give security. You can’t lose sight of the fact that they are defenders first," continued Ayala, who played at the Mestalla for seven seasons.
On recent criticism of Lionel Messi in Argentina over his decision to temporarily retire from the national side, Ayala said: "I imagine that the criticism hurts him, more for a guy who gets better year after year and with the selección has not yet been able to win anything.”