What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a goalkeeping coach?
Typically, that role would be lazily associated with firing shots at the glovesmen of any given team, before also working with them on things such as communication, positioning and other aspects of the job.
One thing you wouldn’t traditionally expect from a goalkeeping coach would be a detailed analysis of Pep Guardiola’s footballing style, but that is exactly what Wolves’ Rui Barbosa handed to Record (via Sport Witness) in the 2017/18 season and to good effect.
Barbosa spoke at length to the Portuguese outlet about how Manchester City play, outlining their attacking ethos and also how Guardiola organises his side.
Presumably, Barbosa also shared this knowledge with Nuno Espirito Santo, and it paid dividends as Wolves became the only side to stop the Citizens from scoring when they drew 0-0 at the Etihad in Carabao Cup action – only four teams stopped City from scoring in that season, as Huddersfield, Liverpool and Crystal Palace also achieved the feat.
At the time, Wolves were in the Championship, which makes that achievement all the more impressive.
Aside from out-muscling one of the biggest footballing brains of all time, Barbosa helps hone the talents of Rui Patricio and John Ruddy at Molineux and to good effect – Patricio has an impressive 13 clean sheets in all competitions this season.
It is somewhat telling as to how highly Nuno thinks of Barbosa that he has included him amongst his staff at Rio Ave, Porto and now in the Midlands – the goalkeeping coach is a key lieutenant of Nuno’s.
The Athletic describe the man under the spotlight as “a warm and jovial character” who has also helped improve Patricio’s ability to fight against aerial bombardments, something that Ruddy was brought in to combat when Cardiff faced Wolves in the 2018/19 campaign.
Barbosa deserves credit for his work with the ex-Sporting Lisbon shot-stopper, and also deserves applause for going the extra mile to dissect the opponent’s tactics in such depth, as he did against Manchester City.
In other news, Glenn Hoddle had a moment to forget with this £1.4m swoop back in 2006…