Sunday's victory over Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley was Pep Guardiola's first piece of silverware as Manchester City manager.
However, such a landmark moment in Pep's English football revolution seemed like a secondary matter behind the other dominant narratives.
Gary Neville's on-air evisceration of Arsenal's lackadaisical approach to defending was undoubtedly the most talked-about incident on social media during the match. The former Manchester United defender, on co-commentating duties for Sky Sports, tore into Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka for walking as City added their second and third goals to put the result beyond doubt.
But, following the game, City's triumph took a backseat to discussion over Guardiola openly defying the FA. The City manager was last week charged for wearing a yellow pro-Catalan ribbon on the touchline, thus breaching the FA's rules on wearing political messages during matches.
The yellow ribbon is a symbol in support of imprisoned Catalan politicians. As a proud Catalonian, it's no surprise that Guardiola would show solidarity, even if it meant defying English football's governing body.
“They [the FA] know I will wear it always. I can wear it somewhere else," Guardiola said on Sunday.
"Uefa have another opinion. They say you can wear it as long as it’s with respect. Here [in England] it’s different apparently.
“I have empathy for the people who have no freedom, those guys in Spain who are in jail. They haven’t been proven guilty. Anyone can be in that situation. Before being a football manager I am a human being and this is for humanity.
“There are four guys in prison and other guys, they don’t have weapons, just votes in the ballot. I said this is always with me and it always will be until the last. I will accept whatever they [the FA] decide about my behaviour. It’s not a lack of respect, it’s being part of humanity.”
Guardiola has been wearing the ribbon since Catalonia's failed secession bid in October. However, after beginning his post-match press conference by praising Sheikh Mansour and the owners of Manchester City, whose fortune has largely been built on slave labour, Associated Press journalist Rob Harris deemed it relevant to challenge Guardiola on human rights in the UAE.
Given Guardiola opened his news conference praising Sheikh Mansour before discussing democratic freedoms at length in Catalonia, it was relevant to ask about rights in the UAE, as the sports media does relating to Qatar. (Not me passing judgement) https://t.co/vQDePmd62X
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 25, 2018
“Every country decides the way they want to live for themselves," Guardiola said in response.
"If he decides to live in that (country) it is what it is. I am in a country with democracy installed since years ago and try to protect that situation.”
It was a courageous question to ask Guardiola - and one Harris was duly commended for. Fair play to him. While it's easy to ask Guardiola about his managerial philosophy or City playing beautiful, attacking football, it takes balls to challenge him for preaching about democracy and freedom when his football team is being bankrolled by a ruling family of a region which, in the words of Amnesty International, "restricts freedoms of expression and association and detains government critics."
Bravo Rob, for putting your question in such clear, fair and polite terms. I was fuming myself, and bit my lip, thinking I'd probably overstep the mark.
— Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) February 25, 2018
Spot on - and fair play for going there!
— Greg Johnson (@gregianjohnson) February 25, 2018
And @RobHarris asks how he can reconcile that stance with working for Abu Dhabi given the human rights questions there. Guardiola says "everyone has to choose" or something.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) February 25, 2018
Problem for Pep Guardiola: the more he shines light on human rights issues re: Sanchez + Cuixart, the more anger he attracts to UAE + its human rights record
Sheikh Mansour (who Pep thanked yesterday) is deputy PM.
So, at what point does this become an issue for his employers?
— Rob Draper (@draper_rob) February 26, 2018
Well done @RobHarris , every other journalist bottles it.
— Chris Bailey (@BaileyX80) February 25, 2018
Finally a journalist has the bottle to question the horror that’s funding this football project.
— Daniel Shack (@Daniel_Shack) February 25, 2018