Football: Pep Guardiola will join Bayern Munich on a three-year contract starting next season.
The Bundesliga club confirmed the acquisition of the former Barcelona manager today in what represents a major coup for the Germans.
Guardiola’s decision, too, can be viewed as a snub to the Premier League, but especially Chelsea and Manchester City, who had long coveted the 41-year-old’s services.
Chelsea, in particular, had notably appointed Rafael Benitez as only their interim manager following the sacking of Roberto di Matteo earlier this season and had held high hopes of luring Guardiola to Stamford Bridge.
Instead Guardiola will now replace current Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who will stay on in his post until the end of this season before the former Barcelona boss takes over on a deal that runs until June 2016.
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “Pep Guardiola is one of the most successful coaches in the world and we are sure that he can make not just Bayern, but all of German football shine.”
Guardiola announced last April he would be leaving Barcelona where he won a raft of trophies to go on a year-long sabbatical.
It had long been assumed he would join a major English club on his return to the game and his decision not to do so is yet another indication that the Premier League is no longer the draw it once was.
On acquiring the services of a man who brought 13 trophies to the Nou Cap, Bayern’s chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “We are very pleased that we have managed to convince the football expert Pep Guardiola, who was coveted and contacted by many top clubs, to come to Bayern Munich.”
Bayern revealed that Guardiola’s arrival had been in the offing since before Christmas when Heynckes, 67, told the club he wanted to retire.
“As a club and as Jupp Heynckes’ friends we have to show understanding for this decision. We have to accept it and we have to respect it,” Rummenigge added.
“During personal talks with Jupp Heynckes we assured each other that we will do anything we can, and now even more, to have a successful second half of the season 2012/13 where we want to get the title to Munich.”
The news of Guardiola’s appointment comes just a day after Bayern’s media director Markus Horwick labelled reports that the club had approached the Spaniard to take over as “complete rubbish,” with Guardiola himself also saying that he hoped to manage in the Premier League.
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