Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed that he has ambitions to manage in Italy after finishing his Premier League project, and has paid homage to his former mentor Johan Cruyff.
In an interview with Festival dello Sport, via the Manchester Evening News, Guardiola gave his opinions on the nation's recent footballing struggles, saying: "What is lacking in Italian football to make a leap forward in terms of mentality? Nothing is missing, history is not written in the last two years, Italy remains what it is.
"It is important to reflect on why you did not go to the last World Cup, but we all have to learn from Italy, which has always won and in many ways. Defending well is a talent and you are masters. Life is this, we win and lose, but I am convinced that in Italy there are very good players and they can do very well."
When pushed on whether he would like to manage in Serie A, Guardiola said: "A bench in Italy? Why not. I would never have said that I would go to Germany and that I would learn German. Here you eat well."
While Guardiola's comments appear to reflect an interest in the local cuisine rather than management, his coaching record does suggest a desire for taking on challenges across Europe. With the likes of Inter and Milan struggling against Serie A serial winners Juventus, the former Barcelona man may well fancy a crack at restoring one of the former powerhouses to long-awaited glory.
Guardiola also cited the importance of his former manager Johan Cruyff in forging his footballing philosophy, remarking: "Johan Cruyff was the most important person I worked with, he opened my eyes with his style of football. He helped us all (when playing at Barça) understand a different way of looking at football.
"It was like going to school every day. Every morning we would do something different. We would win and he’d tell us the reason we were winning."
The 47-year-old suggested that his side don't boast the Champions League pedigree of clubs such as Real Madrid or Barça, and that teams with a proven track record in the competition tend to be the ones who triumph.