I had a post much like yours in the writing but you said it much better. One thing to add though. In his last season, he also brought in the three man defence which is turning out to be quite the trend at the moment when it wasn't before that.
Kinda stopped paying attention after that.
The core of Pep's Barca side was built by Rijkaard.
the team Rijkaard built was based around Puyol, Deco and Ronaldinho, and messi was just coming through.
Guardiola virtually gutted out the core, built the team on the academy players he was familiar with and coached, built around Puyol, Xavi (who was there but was hindered by king deco), iniesta, and messi. Improved them by making Busquets (much as I hate the knob) the key deep-lying midfielder, much to the world's dismay by selling the (still) world-class Y.Toure. Brought through players like pedro which initially brought questions till he proved them right.
then to top it off, turned messi, who was doing great as a RW into a CF (thus popularizing and bringing back the false-9 position) which has been the making of messi (at a time when the idea of a diminutive playmaker could play in the position that was commonly known for big target men).
then there is not just their passing style, but the ethos who coached into the team about gaining the ball back within 7 seconds of losing it in the oppositions half before returning to form, which a distinct coaching style of their off-the-ball pressing tactics.
basically, the idea that Pep simply watched a world-class team do their thing is madness. The idea that this team was built by Rijkaard is simply ridiculous.