PUMA ambassadors Virat Kohli and Pep Guardiola talk about mental strength in sports on PUMA’s India IG

Herzogenaurach, October 15, 2020- PUMA ambassador Virat Kohli, Captain Indian Cricket TEAM played host for an Instagram Live session with Pep Guardiola, coach of football club Manchester City.

The 30-minute conversation saw Pep highlight the importance of character over skill, mental strength, his mentor Johan Cruyff … and rugby!

Please see the video on Kohli’s Instagram platform https://www.instagram.com/tv/CGVF5gsAJ9Q/

VK:  When you want to sign a player, do you look at skill or character? 

Pep:  We see skill, but we should see character more. Skills you can assess from videos and when you play against them. But knowing how a player handles difficult situations or playing in incredibly tough scenarios and how they overcome would be more important. Character makes an absolute difference. 

VK: In the current situation with no fans in the stadium, is it easier to coach the team without the fans in the stadium? Or do you miss the energy?

Pep: Without people it’s not the same. It feels like a friendly game. We must do it, the show must go on! We need the people to come back to the stadiums when everything is safe. It feels very different without them. We miss the fans. Playing closed behind the scenes is weird.

VK: You switched from wearing black boots to colorful ones and then back to black during your playing career. Why is that?

Pep: When I was playing, all the shoes were black. Now to find a black boot is so difficult. One day when I wore red boots, my mentor and the best manager Johan Cruyff saw it and made me change back into black boots. Pep: You bat in white shoes and field in Black. Is it for superstition? VK: I love playing in white shoes, batting specially. It’s more of a superstition for me. When I bat, it’s my zone and time to be absolutely close to myself and perform.

VK: Johan Cruyff is also one of my heroes.

Pep: He was PUMA too. It’s incredible this brand has Pele, Maradona and Johan Cruyff. Now Neymar. Johan Cruyff was an absolute genius.

VK:I read somewhere that you are a big fan of rugby, and that you learn best practices from other sports, and apply it to football. Is this true?

Pep: You can definitely learn from golf or basketball players for instance. In individual sports its more mental, in collective sports there are always similarities between all sports. For example, the mental approach in golf is so important. When you speak to big athletes, their minds are so strong, for one second, they don’t doubt their abilities and focus. Its nice to learn from other sports

VK:What is that one thing that you have always followed as Pep Guardiola in Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City that always works?

Pep: Football players are smart and intuitive. When you are fake, they realize. You can make mistakes and take bad decision, but you must be authentic. When we are together playing for 11 months, I want to create a good environment. It’s not always about winning. Sometimes you don’t win. It’s a part of life. What’s important is that 11 months we are together, we need to have a good time. Suffer the bad moments, enjoy the good moments, have a good time. Relationship and respect and try to do your best all the time. Society tell you to only admire the winners – that’s not true. It’s a bad message for the kids. I don’t remember the titles I win. I remember the moments in the locker room, preparation for the game, dinner with the mates. At the end of the day, statistics is numbers. In the process, if you don’t enjoy it, it’s not nice. 

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