'I'll give everything until the last day'
Pep Guardiola has visibly benefited from the holiday season as he was relaxed and serene when he arrived at the Säbener Strasse media centre on Tuesday afternoon. The coach had just overseen FC Bayern's second training session in the new year as preparations for the second half of the season pick up pace. For the first time after the winter holidays Guardiola faced the media and explained why he will leave the German record champions at the end of the season.
"If I were 55 or 60 I'd stay here until Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Uli Hoeneß or Matthias Sammer say, it's enough, Pep!" But at 44 years Guardiola feels "young enough" for a change after three years at Bayern. "The reason why I didn't extend my contract with Bayern is very simple: I want to be a coach in England, in the Premier League. That's the only reason," explained Guardiola.
Guardiola needs new challenge
He has spoken to chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on the subject "many times" and is "very, very happy and very grateful that the club wanted me to stay. They fought and did everything to make me stay," said the Catalan. His decision was not dependent on "money or new players. I need a new challenge at this point in my career," commented Guardiola, who wants to finish his career "not without experience in England."
The Catalan revealed that he had offers from England before taking up his job in Munich in the summer of 2013. Back then he chose FC Bayern, where he has won five titles in the last two and a half years. Guardiola could not say where he will be next season. "I have several offers, but I haven't signed anything yet. When I have a new club I'll announce that."
'Perfect decision' Ancelotti
Guardiola was full of praise for his successor Carlo Ancelotti: "Congratulations to the club and to Carlo. I think it's a perfect decision for the club, and I wish Carlo the best." The 56-year-old Italian is "very experienced, he's won titles in Italy, England, France and Spain. I'll continue to work here to pass on the best possible team to Carlo."
Guardiola left no doubt as to his plans for the upcoming months in Munich. "I'll give everything until the last day of my contract. I'm happy to coach these players, to work at this club. I don't want to lose this atmosphere," the Catalan commented. "It's a dream for me to develop new ideas with these players, and I'm very grateful to Bayern Munich for having given me this great chance."
Guardiola now has about two weeks to prepare his team for the restart fixture against Hamburger SV and to launch the race for three possible titles. He has no doubt that his players "will give their best, for themselves and for the club, in this period. They're excellent pros," Guardiola commented with regard to the second half of the season.