After so much to-ing and fro-ing with tactical systems, more and more concerned with covering all sectors of the pitch and looking after the result, making football more and more "efficient" to the rhythm of a growing capitalism, with coaches lasting less and less in their posts depending on the dictatorship of results, we come to discover that one of the biggest winners of this time, the Catalan Josep Guardiola, who has been at Manchester City for seven seasons, has returned to the WM, the old system of Herbert Champman in the decade of the Thirties of the last century.

The WM is nothing more than a system with three defenders, two midfielders up front, and two more behind three attackers, which, joining the dots, ends up forming the two letters, something considered ancient by most modernists.

It is not always necessary to play like this, of course. And the first who knows this well is Guardiola himself, winner since 2008, when he took charge of the first team at Futbol Club Barcelona, of 37 titles, between domestic (26) and international (11) between his three stages, the first, which was already mentioned, until 2012, the second at Bayern Munich, between 2013 and 2016, and the third at Manchester City, between 2016 and the present, although his contract has a longer duration and then he only intends to manage national teams, according to his friend, the former Catalan journalist and current member of City Goup, Joan Patxi.

Guardiola has been, first and foremost, a great footballer. Beyond his technical skills and his ability to pass well as a midfielder, he maintains that he learned his trade when he was lucky enough to have Johan Cruyff as a coach, who, seeing him with a skinny, lanky physique, warned him that he could never win a clash with the characteristics of his colleagues in the position who were appearing: physically solid, with enormous deployment, and with much more muscle to go in search of the ball. Undoubtedly, "Pep" had to try to avoid a collision with his rivals.

How do I do this? By anticipating the play, arriving a second earlier to the ball and passing it quickly to a teammate at the first contact, before the opponents arrived, This is how he learned that to play better, you have to read the play, you have to understand what you are playing, you have to be attentive to the game and everything around you, and, as far as possible, you have to think about what you are going to do with the ball before it reaches your feet.

Guardiola, then, is the product of several facts: Cruyff's advice, the fact that before, in the seventies, Cruyff himself had been an idol of the Blue and Whites' fans, marking the club as few had done before by provoking a revolution: it was necessary to stop always looking to Madrid to place oneself at the center of the action, to feel confident, to bet on one's own without victimizing oneself. As coach, he won four Spanish league titles in a row, and before his team took to the field at Wembley in London for the 1992 European Cup final against Sampdoria, he told his players in the dressing room to "go out and enjoy yourselves," and Barcelona won their first continental tournament.

While Manchester City, a club without a winning tradition, may be seeking their fourth successive English league title and are the reigning Champions League winners, they are currently considered one of the best teams in the world, but they are not alone in their ability to play an eye-catching game. Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool have also achieved this with a different system and different ideas, and the same can be said of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, who woke up two seasons ago under Guardiola's former assistant coach.

If with Guardiola, taking his system into the realm of music, it is considered closer to the classical—we could represent it as listening to "The Beatles"—with" lopp, i it could be closer to the expression of heavy rock, with much more noise, but without ever losing the aesthetics. If for Guardiola, the midfield is a fundamental zone for the gestation of the game, for Klopp, it is just a place of transit, and the final three quarters of the pitch become fundamental: the most important thing is to arrive, not so much to be there. Arteta's role at Arsenal, on the other hand, is much more similar to Guardiola's, and it is not for nothing that he is a DT from his "kidney." The three teams, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal, have been dominating the English football scene and, in a good way, the European one.

However, the aesthetic fact of football today seems to be an act of resistance to the advance of scientific studies that want to transform a game into a sum of calculations with the sole objective of achieving results: algorithms that suggest players sign, heat maps that show the images of the matches to determine where on the pitch the ball passed the most and where it didn't even come close, clothing under the shirts to measure the kilometers covered, and so many other objects that are appearing to supposedly improve sportsmen.

On the tactical side, it is surprising that teams that attack with more than two players are considered "naïve" or at best "romantic," but are "balanced" the more midfielders and defenders there are behind the line of the ball. It is strange: in a team composed of eleven players, the "balance" comes even though there may be eight defending and three attacking, but it is quite the opposite if there were eight attacking and three defending.

Returning to Cruyff, before the start of a season in the Spanish league, Barcelona president Josep Luis Núñez expressed his fear that the coach had asked for almost all attackers to be recruited, but not defenders, so that the team could suffer many goals conceded. The response, which did not convince the manager, was that "if we score five goals and they score two, we will win every game," but the system does not seem to be prepared to rationally understand something so simple, perhaps because the industry only prepares for efficiency, which is nourished by a specific discourse and a mass production of the same players.

If, as a player, Brazil's Mario Lobo Zagallo dazzled at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden by dropping back to retrieve the ball near the midfielders and then coming on as an extra forward, changing the way the game was conceived at the time - to the point that a young Pelé said that without Zagallo he would hardly have been able to shine at that tournament - then twelve years later he surprised again, now as a coach, when he decided to take five players in the same position in different teams in his country to the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, twelve years later he surprised again, this time as a coach, when he decided to take to the 1970 World Cup in Mexico five players in the same position in different teams in his country, that of creative left midfielder (the legendary "number ten"), and he started them all in the five attacking positions.

Thus it was that Jairzinho (Botafogo), Gerson (Fluminense), Tostao (Cruzeiro), Pelé (Santos), and Rivelino (Corinthians) made up perhaps the best team in history, leaving spectacular memories of marvellous, unique plays and, of course, humiliating in the final the Italy of Catenaccio, the kings of invulnerability. However, there is another fact hidden several layers inside, and that is that Brazil never failed to win a single match from the World Cup qualification process to the final they won. They never even drew a game. More examples of efficiency?

But no. Today's industrialized system, with football multinationals made up of the same owners of a group that owns clubs in countries on different continents, needs discipline, control, and efficiency within a context that is as scientific as possible, far removed from any romantic manifestation, to the point that a player can be cautioned, and even sent off, for celebrating one goal too many.

A few years ago, there was a debate in Argentina about "the kind of football that people like." It was in the context of the change of paradigm around the Argentine national team after César Luis Menotti ended an eight-year cycle as coach in 1982, a cycle that, far beyond the first World Cup title for the Albiceleste, generated a philosophy that was called "return to the sources," an attempt, with modern tools, to return to the way of playing with which Argentine football shone in the thirties and forties of the last century, when famous forwards swept aside all opponents and matches were a feast of enjoyment and aesthetics. Carlos Bilardo, who replaced Menotti in the post, began to propagate that it was possible to win "with many systems" and that there was no single way to achieve the goal. Both had their defenders and their detractors.

Even today, football is still being debated in the world as to whether it is heading more and more towards science or whether those pockets of rebelliousness that insist on romanticism will be able to impose themselves, showing that it is still effective, even if it does not seem to be.

In 1975, a former player of the 1930s, Carlos Peucelle—later a football teacher and discoverer of talent in Argentina—published a book, "Fútbol Todo Tiempo," in which he wrote a lapidary sentence: "What I see, I have already seen. What I saw, I no longer see." Perhaps, with WM, Guardiola is making an attempt to recover those times that seem so far away.