Last Wednesday, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures welcomed one of  world Football’s most distinguished names, Pep Guardiola, to speak at the department’s Annual Peers Symposium. With the event being chaired by Dr Diana Cullell and Joan Mas Font in front of a packed-out lecture theatre, Guardiola answered a number of questions regarding a number of topics, including his footballing career, the importance of studying languages, and his thoughts on the current political situation in Catalonia.

As a supporter of Catalan Independence, Guardiola spoke passionately about the region and the importance of the right to self-determination, pointing to the Scottish independence referendum of 2014 as a blueprint for the governments of Barcelona and Madrid to follow.

The Manchester City manager was equally passionate when asked about language learning and discovering other cultures. Addressing the many University of Liverpool students in attendance, Pep strongly encouraged them to take opportunities to travel and learn different languages as and when they arose, revealing one of his biggest regrets in life was not taking the time to learn some Arabic during his two years as a player in Qatar. He was keen to stress the importance of culture and society, and tied it into his own life experiences, describing a football team as a “society in itself”.

Finally, when asked about his love of reading, Guardiola’s response will perhaps reassure any student who has checked out a book from the library, only to leave it unopened, as even one of the most successful figures in football stated, “sooner or later I will read them [the books], but I don’t have the time.”