Pep Guardiola: Rafael Nadal is greatest athlete in Spanish sports history

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Pep Guardiola: Rafael Nadal is greatest athlete in Spanish sports history

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has acknowledged that Rafael Nadal's achievements and longevity are absolutely impressive and he thinks the record 22-time Grand Slam champion deserves to be considered as the greatest athlete in Spanish sports history.

Nadal, who turned 36 last week, became a Grand Slam champion as a teenager in 2005. 17 years later, Nadal is still winning Grand Slams and is ranked inside the top-5 in the world. On Sunday, Nadal defeated Casper Ruud for a record 14th French Open title and he also now owns a record 22 Grand Slams.

"Without a doubt (Nadal is the best sportsperson in Spanish history)," Guardiola said at the Puma Legends Trophy in Mallorca, per Sportskeeda. "And I would say without discussion. It is difficult to compare individual sports with team sports.

Spain has had very good athletes but the consistency and longevity of Rafa has not been had by anyone."

Guardiola: Tough to find words to describe Nadal's career and success

"It seems impossible, and according to him in conditions of many physical difficulties due to the problems he has had," Guardiola added.

"There are no more adjectives to describe Rafa's career and successes." Nadal has been battling a chronic foot issue since 2005. Still, he has managed to have a very long and successful career. At Roland Garros, Nadal said he put his foot to "sleep" for two weeks and that's how he was able to compete.

Going forward, Nadal hopes to find a solution for his chronic foot pain and Guardiola thinks the Spaniard will add more success to his name if he is able to compete. "It seemed that after winning the ninth or 10th he was already (done).

He was getting older," Guardiola said. "But he doesn't stop. And I have the impression that if his body can withstand the problems with his foot, he will continue to win."

Rafael Nadal