A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast
A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast
Guillem Balague on Pep and Maradona

Guillem Balague on Pep and Maradona

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Introducing Guillem Balague

Today I'm talking football and psychology with Guillem Balague, someone whose work I admire and whose commentary on the game of football is eloquent, thoughtful and profound. Like me, Guillem is endlessly curious about what makes people tick, the psychology of sport, how players and coaches become successful, and also why they go wrong. Guillem has written superb biographies of some of the most iconic players in history: Pep Guardiola, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi; and Mauricio Pochettino.

Here we focus on Pep Guardiola and Diego Maradona, two icons of sport whose characters and trajectories couldn't be more different; and all the more fascinating for that as I try to understand with Guillem what made them the men they are, or indeed were, their successes, failures and idiosyncrasies.

Show notes

  • What got Guillem into football writing?

  • What characters fascinate Guillem?

  • What’s Guillem’s writing process to get under the skin of his protagonists?

  • Who is Pep and what drives him?

  • How Pep creates belonging in his teams

  • Sacrifice and service to the cause

  • How do Diego’s origins explain the man?

  • Diego’s self-destruction

  • Diego: myth vs. reality

  • Love affair with Napoli

  • Conflict in team environments

  • Pep and Mourinho

  • Pep and Ferguson

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Next time with David Robson

I'll be talking about expectations with scientist and journalist David Robson. Our capacity for our beliefs to influence outcomes is far stronger than you might imagine. Anticipation and ceremony around a bottle of wine is something I've discussed here with Joe Fattorini, and the expectation created around a bottle certainly affects one's enjoyment of it. David takes us way beyond booze into healthcare, medicine, sport, work and diet.

Tune in, I would not expect anything less of you!

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Be well and till next time,


A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast
A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast
A Load of BS on Sport: The Behavioural Science Podcast dives deep into the psychology of what makes elite performers tick; how they think about success and failure, how they find and maintain peak performance, how they manage fear and adversity, how they make decisions under pressure, how they deal with risk and uncertainty.