It’s something I have come back to throughout my career. Yes, I have had successes, but I have always learned more from moments when I have failed.
My career has been built on a strong foundation of learning.
I was 20 years old when an injury ended my playing career. I had always known that I was not good enough to make it, though. I saw that every time my father took me to watch Barcelona.
On one of those occasions, I remember sitting high up in the Camp Nou, watching the first game that Pep Guardiola played in and thinking: “Wow. That’s a player, you know?”
Like most kids in Spain, football was my hobby. But I could never leave it at that. When I like something, I can’t just like it. I have to go deeply into it.
Let me give you an example: if I’m reading a book on Plato and I really like it – well, then I have to read everything about Plato. When I started playing the guitar, that was the same – as soon as I started, I got massively into it.
“Because I never had experience as a professional player, I couldn’t get knowledge from within the game. Instead, I had to seek it out”
This explains a little bit how I ended up going from coaching the young players at my hometown club to getting my Pro Licence at the age of 26, becoming a coach in Espanyol’s academy and, a few years later, in 2009, becoming the head coach of the club’s reserve team.
I never planned this pathway. But as soon as I started doing it, I realised that it is one thing to have your ideas while you are playing the game. If you are going to make it your career, though, you need the education too.
In Spain, it takes five years of full-time study to become a coach. It’s a long time, but I understood the responsibility that was on my shoulders when I was working with young players. If I make a mistake now, well, the players I’m working with have a lot of experience and are older. You can still improve them, but they are almost made.
But if I make a mistake with a young player, that’s a huge mistake. That’s why I thought I really must know what I am doing to avoid making mistakes and hurting their development. That’s why you need a lot of knowledge.