Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has spoken out about the departure of CEO Omar Berarda to a rival club.
Speaking at his official press conference ahead of the FA Cup round of 32 tie on Saturday (ET), Guardiola said: “Omar is a great person, an incredible professional. I met him yesterday and I wish him all the best because he is a fantastic person.”
Berarda previously worked at City. He served as City’s chief operating officer. While at City, he worked with Guardiola to bring in two of the Premier League’s best players in forward Elling Holland and midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.
One of their biggest recent acquisitions was Julian Alvarez. Alvarez was a relative unknown when he arrived from River Plate in the Argentine league, but he made a smooth transition to European soccer and enjoyed a treble last season.
Berarda, however, left the team on July 21. The reason: a move to a rival team. City’s local rivals, Manchester United, appointed Berarda as their CEO. It was a shocking move, literally. Players are reluctant to move to rival teams.
United recently completed a tiresome takeover saga. Sir Jim Ratcliffe has agreed to take a 25% minority stake. The deal has yet to be approved by the English Premier League’s (EPL) secretariat, but final approval is expected in February.
Ratcliffe’s arrival at the club has been marked by sweeping changes. The Red Devils have been plagued by injuries this season. So, Ratcliffe let go of the first-team physiotherapist to reorganize the medical system.
He also wants to overhaul the transfer system by appointing Berarda, who has a successful history with rivals, as CEO. In addition, he recently announced plans to appoint a sporting director. Newcastle United have been linked with Dan Ashworth.
Guardiola addressed the issue during his official press conference ahead of the FA Cup round of 32 tie against Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England on Sunday. Here, he was asked about Berarda.
Guardiola said: “The reality is that Berarda’s knowledge goes to United. We learned a lot from him and he learned a lot from the club. He’s gone to United now, but De Bruyne and Holland will still play here,” Guardiola said.
“Maybe they thought that if Berarda came, everything would change. I don’t know if that will happen, but congratulations to them for signing him,” he said, adding, “I don’t know if everything will work out like that, like snapping your fingers.”
He also explained the move to a rival team. ”If he’s not happy here and wants to go to Man United, he has to leave. What can we do? There is nothing wrong with that. It’s something that can happen,” he said.