'If the money runs out, the day after I'm not here': the strong moral stance of Pep Guardiola

by Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City

I AM an ethical man, and that does not come cheap. My employers are currently accused of financial misdealing and I have warned them: with no money, I am not here. 

They only have to look at my record to know I am telling the truth. I began with Barça, where I bought only the best; then Bayern, which I found limiting because Germany is too unattractive a prospect for young millionaires. Then City. 

I came here why? For the challenge. For the project of building a club that could rival the greatest in the Premier League. And because here at City money simply rains down from the air. 

My vision cannot be compromised by anything less. How can one create a squad that truly loves the ball when one is forced to play a mere £45m winger? Would Picasso paint a portrait if told ‘sorry, we could not afford green’? 

The charges laid against my club are serious. And I promise the players and the fans that if they are found to be true and the club faces restrictions on spending, I will be out and City will not be my friend anymore.

How can I work in an environment where I do not stumble across bricks of unmarked high-denomination bills in every corridor? How can one even build a team without leisurely picking the cream of other clubs’ players? 

Such a game is not really football. It is budgetary management, coin-shuffling, balance-sheet-checking. It is a game for an accountant. Not an artist. 

Should City fail me, I shall take my leave. It has always been my way. Even as a player I chose Qatar over England. Without the purity afforded by immense, unchallenged wealth I cannot survive. 

I believe this is the secret of my achievements: I have never once worked with a team who were not already rich and winning everything. It saddens me that other coaches choose to debase themselves with less. 

It is a moral line for me. If City are compromised, I would take my skills to a league that appreciates them, like Ligue 1 and Paris Saint-Germain. 

For I am compelled to do what is right for football. For Pep. And that is, and is always, a fucking shitload of money. 

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Mash Blind Date: A 26-year-old woman and every man who has ever swiped right on her on Tinder

HAPLESS Tinder user Nikki Hollis goes for a candlelit dinner with the 8,468 horny men who have swiped right on her profile in the last year. Will any of them find love?

Nikki on 8,468 Tinder matches

First impression

Jesus, wow, that’s a lot of blokes when you’re actually in the room with them. I guess I should be flattered. But none of them are as tall as they said, all of them are older, and many are holding fish.

How was the conversation?

Most didn’t say a word. The rest opened with classics like ‘yo’, ‘u up?’, the red-face-with-tongue-out emoji, or a recycled chat-up line. Most times it ended there. A couple asked me to ‘show dem titties’.

Memorable moments?

There was one guy I really clicked with. We had a lovely back and forth, made each other laugh, it seemed to be going somewhere. Then when I suggested grabbing a drink he completely vanished. I’ve never seen a person physically dematerialise, leaving only a pair of smoking New Balance behind.

Favourite thing about 8,468 Tinder matches?

It’s good to know I’ve got options. There really are plenty more fish in the sea, mostly those really fucking weird ones that live on the ocean floor without sunlight.

A capsule description?

Single woman realises that desperate twats on dating apps don’t become great catches over a meal. Good table service, though.

Was there a spark?

Absolutely not. Although that’s kind of a relief because my colleague Martin was one of them and it would have been awkward. He pretended not to see me.

What happened afterwards?

I went home alone, finished a bottle of wine, and turned on my phone to find 6,233 messages calling me a bitch.

What would you change about the evening?

That one decent-ish guy chatted me up in real life. Sadly, that form of dating is now as ridiculously antiquated as sending a romantic sonnet spritzed with perfume and sealed with wax.

Will you see each other again?

Oh, undoubtedly. In about four months after I’ve taken some time to myself, got bored, then crawled back at two in the morning after a drunken night out. Looking forward to it, fellas.

8,468 Tinder matches on Nikki

First impression

We are the Tinder Men. We are many. We have designated specimen ‘Nikki Hollis, aged 26 from Reading who likes going on adventures as much as having a quiet night in’, to be suitable for assimilation.

How was the conversation?

Conversation is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We will add Nikki’s biological distinctiveness to our own.

Memorable moments?

The moment when Nikki laughed at our jokes has been designated ‘a good sign’ in our memory banks. Her continued failure to still find us unattractive does not compute with our hive mind. Conclusion: we are too good for her anyway.

Favourite thing about Nikki?

Nikki is a single adult female looking for a male partner. That is the only significant data. Caveat: she looked aesthetically pleasing in those beach pictures from summer 2022.

A capsule description?

Woman. Must be ours.

Was there a spark?

Define ‘spark’? If you mean a sense of emotional stroke sexual connection generated by potential romantic partners upon meeting for the first time: negative. Irrelevant.

What happened afterwards?

We continued our ceaseless voyage through the expanse of cyberspace, looking for other specimens to add to our consciousness.

What would you change about the evening?

That we engaged in what humanity terms ‘intimate physical contact’. That this was not achieved triggered the ‘bitch’ response.

Will you see each other again?

Reunion: inevitable. Escape: impossible. We will grow in number and bide our time in the darkest recesses of the internet. We will adapt. Nikki will fall.