Pep Guardiola left Barcelona last year to take a well-earned sabbatical year off and live in New York. The coach hasn’t been out of the press much while he’s been away and a lot of speculation has risen in past months as to where he would eventually end up. With offers coming in from top Premier League clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, the most wanted coach could literally cherry pick where he wanted to go.
To everyone’s surprise, the Spaniard has agreed to take the reins at Bayern Munich next season.
Many people including Tito Vilanova who was Guardiola’s second in command during his four years at the Nou Camp, firmly believe the Catalan has made the correct choice.
Barca coach Vilanova said: “I’m very happy that he’s returning to football and to one of Europe’s great clubs.
“I don’t know what possible teams he could have gone to, nor the kinds of contracts he was offered, but I’m sure they were all of the top level.
“He had time to choose and would have thought it all over very well. What’s clear is that he couldn’t go wrong because they were all top teams.
“And Bayern are an historic club, with four Champions League titles and some fantastic facilities.”
Captain Carles Puyol, who scored a magnificent header last night in Barca’s 2-2 draw with Malaga also had kind words for his ex coach:
He said: “Bayern are a very good team and he is a great coach. He’s going to one of the greats in Europe and we wish him the best.”
Ex West Ham and Liverpool star Javier Mascherano had this to say: “It was expected that Guardiola would coach a great club and Bayern are one of them.
“They have great German players and style of play and philosophy similar to which you find here.”
And ex Barcelona FC keeper and current sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was also on hand to share his delight and added: “I’m very pleased for Guardiola.
“It means that he’s doing well and that he’s well rested, it means that he’s eager to return to the world of football. Bayern have made a great signing.
“Bayern are a club that can offer you a solid and stable project, they also have good players. He’s found what he was looking for and I’m happy.
“I’m sure that he will bring something new and will oblige all of us to move forward.”
Rumours are coming in that ex Real Madrid and Spain star Raúl González Blanco who had two great seasons at Schalke 04 and is now in Qatar, could be Pep Guardiola’s assistant. This could materialize as Raúl made a great impression on the German club and the fans were sad to see him leave. He obviously knows the ropes, as it were, speaks German and as both men have young families, could provide Guardiola with some invaluable support.