We’ve actually lost count of how many articles we’ve started by saying ‘the Manchester derby coverage has been huge’, but it actually has. On Friday, Brazilian website Zero Hora has published an interview with a Brazilian Manchester City employee just to talk about the game.
Leonardo Delai works at Manchester City’s TV channel and was asked about how much their work changed during the past few days ahead of the big match: “Our work has increased a lot. It changes the atmosphere of the club.
“Our office is next to the training pitch. We have direct contact with the players. In fact, not so direct (laughs). They are superstars, celebrities. We breathe football here and players are considered celebrities.”
The celebrity of the players, and manager Pep Guardiola, is behind much of the worldwide hype, an unprecedented level of coverage for a Manchester derby. The arrival of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has helped the coverage grow, and it’s not just column inches, the manager is changing the ethos of the club.
On Guardiola’s arrival, the Brazilian said: “I’ve had little contact with him, exchanged a few words. We deal more with his staff. But it’s clear that everything goes through him.”
Delai also revealed the new manager has decided to use the club’s main training centre as an inspiration for the club’s youngsters, meaning they have to earn the right to get there: “Guardiola made a revolution here. Even in the club’s geography. For example: before, players of the youth teams and the main squad shared the same building in the training centre. Not now. The idea is that young players have this building as a goal.”
It’s a philosophy the manager has learned well, having much experience with La Masia, and as young footballers receive more and more attention, money, and celebrity, it sounds like a solid plan.