Upon his arrival at the club four years ago, Pep Guardiola ingenuously introduced a new game into the Manchester City training schedule which is still being used to good effect till this day.
The game required each player to pass the ball as close as possible to a defined line on the training pitch, with the closest being crowned the winner. However, anyone whose ball goes over the line would automatically be eliminated.
One fine day last season, Guardiola decided to play his game with some of his players. When it came to his turn, in his first attempt, football’s highly revered manager sent his ball over the line, and immediately finished last. And it so happened that the penalty for the day was a slap behind the head. Ah-ha …!
Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy were among the players involved. And just before Guardiola received his ‘punishment’, he jokingly said:
“Watch out how hard you slap me because I have not yet decided who is playing this weekend!”
Possibly worried that he would not be picked for the weekend’s selection in the team, Silva opted for a kinder, softer approach and only brushed the back of his highly esteemed manager’s head.
Mendy, on the other hand, decided to go for break and was more generous with his slap to the back of Pep’s head while bursting out raucously with laughter like everybody else! That surely took guts, mind you.
Incidentally for the record, Bernardo and Mendy started that weekend. And guess what – City won!