Pep Guardiola is 50 and who would begrudge Manchester City’s remarkable manager a quiet celebration?
The likelihood is that Guardiola will instead be picking the pieces out of Sunday’s clash with Crystal Palace and planning for Wednesday’s game against Aston Villa.
Guardiola the player was a diligent servant as a defensive midfielder for Barcelona and Spain, albeit rarely the player who would light up a match.
Yet as a coach his teams have had maverick tendencies, as well as being clinical and merciless at times, as his medal collection shows.
To mark Guardiola’s ‘big 5-0’, now is a timely moment to revisit some of the finest 5-0 wins from his coaching career.
Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid (November 29, 2010)
Barca’s 8-0 win at Almeria nine days earlier had contained a Lionel Messi hat-trick, but the Argentinian could not find the target when Jose Mourinho brought Madrid to Camp Nou.
Not to worry, for he was outstanding in a mesmerising Barcelona display, an iconic moment of the Guardiola era.
Messi ran Madrid ragged but left the scoring to others, setting up David Villa for the third and fourth goals, with Xavi, Pedro and the little-remembered Jeffren condemning Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and co to a ruthless assailing in Catalonia.
“We are proud,” said Guardiola, on the way to a LaLiga and Champions League double, “because the world has seen us play the way we like to play.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 29, 2017
Barcelona 5-0 Atletico Madrid (September 24, 2011)
Guardiola’s last season with Barca ultimately ended without LaLiga glory but it was a campaign that produced a statement victory over an Atletico Madrid team containing Thibaut Courtois, Diego Godin and Radamel Falcao.
Barca were rampant at Camp Nou, with a David Villa strike and Miranda’s own goal putting them two up inside 15 minutes before Messi scored a quite magnificent hat-trick, all three goals containing fine dribbles and sublime link-up play.
Perhaps most significantly for the Spanish football landscape, the result hurried along the sacking of Atletico boss Gregorio Manzano, who, under three months later, would be replaced by a certain Diego Simeone.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) March 4, 2018
Bayern 5-0 Eintracht Frankfurt (February 2, 2014)
Bayern Munich stormed to the Bundesliga title in Guardiola’s first season, losing just twice and seeing off nearest challengers Borussia Dortmund by an astonishing 19 points.
They romped to four separate 5-0 wins over the course of that season, including a magnificent success against Eintracht Frankfurt in February, by which point the title was all but won.
Mario Gotze swept in with a wonderful strike after 12 minutes to set the tone, with further goals coming from Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Dante and Mario Mandzukic.
They thrashed Hamburg 5-0 just 10 days later en route to the second of eight consecutive league titles, a run which remains active.
Steaua Bucharest 0-5 Manchester City (August 16, 2016)
The Guardiola era had begun sketchily with a 2-1 home win over Sunderland three days earlier, City needing a late Paddy McNair own goal to snatch the Premier League points.
But by goodness, this was more like the fare that was expected under the new boss, City rampant in a Champions League play-off in Romania as Sergio Aguero scored his eighth hat-trick for the club, as well as missing two penalties, with David Silva and Nolito also on target.
They had 24 shots and 70.5 per cent of possession in a frightening tease of what was to come.
Manchester City 5-0 Liverpool (September 9, 2017)
Guardiola had finished his first season at City empty-handed, but this devastating performance signalled it would be a different story in 2017-18.
New recruits Ederson, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy all started, and City emphatically showed they were better set up for a title push than the Liverpool team Jurgen Klopp was steadily shaping into something special.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was sent off before half-time for a high challenge that injured goalkeeper Ederson, with City already ahead by that stage thanks to Aguero.
Gabriel Jesus then scored twice, as did Leroy Sane, and City put on a show early in their record-setting 100-point campaign. Liverpool would have their revenge with a 4-3 Anfield win in January, but the title was all but wrapped up by then.
25. Sweet 16!
September was a fantastic month for the Blues – but it was the 16 goals in three league matches that stood out.
5-0 against Liverpool
6-0 against Watford
5-0 against Crystal Palace pic.twitter.com/8jO5yp6xK3
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 23, 2018
Manchester City 5-0 Burnley (all the time)
Every day must feel like a birthday when Burnley come to town, given Guardiola’s team have torched the Clarets 5-0 in their last four meetings at the Etihad Stadium.
Of course it was not always this way: City grafted for a 2-1 home win over Burnley when Fernandinho was sent off when the teams first met at Eastlands in Guardiola’s debut season in England.
But lately it has been customary for Burnley to be rolled over, and Riyad Mahrez helped himself to a hat-trick in the most recent encounter, in November.
Guardiola said afterwards that such goal gluts are “not important; the important thing is winning games”. You suspect, however, he rather enjoys such days. Burnley, rather less so.