Bayern Munich have confirmed that from the start of next season former FC Barcelona head coach and 2011 FIFA World Coach of the Year Pep Guardiola will be in charge at the Allianz Arena when Jupp Heynckes’ contract expires this summer.
The former Spain international guided FC Barcelona to the treble in his debut managerial season of 2008/09, going on to win three Spanish La Liga titles and 2 UEFA Champions League’s with the Spanish giants in only four seasons.
This is somewhat of a coup for Bayern Munich, in a league that has never been able to attract a high number of international stars in the way that the Spanish league and English Premier League do. It is not only a boost to Germany’s most successful club but to the league as a whole.
Executive chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge made the following announcement, as quoted by the club’s official website:
“We’re delighted to have been able to convince Guardiola to join FC Bayern in the face of competition for his services from numerous top-class clubs. Guardiola is one of the world’s most successful coaches and we are confident that he can add lustre not only to FC Bayern, but to the German game as a whole. We look forward to starting work with him in July 2013.”
The former Barcelona and Spain midfielder, who turns 42 on Friday was in the midst of a one-year sabbatical having lost out on the La Liga title to rivals Real Madrid last season and being eliminated at the semi-final stage of last season’s Champions League to Chelsea.
The news of this signing is going to make headlines around the world and further enhance the growing reputation of the German Bundesliga that has recently grown in popularity with help of great performances from the national team in recent international tournaments, low ticket prices attracting big crowds and the general exciting nature that the league has to offer.
As a player, Pep Guardiola won 6 league titles, 1 European Cup (now known as the Champions League), 2 Spanish Cups and a Cup Winners’ Cup with FC Barcelona, before rejecting a move to Chelsea in the English Premier League for a lower prestige club in Serie A, Brescia as he saw out his career. Guardiola had been strongly-linked with both Chelsea and French Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain as a future head coach, but today’s announcement means those clubs will have to look elsewhere.
Pep Guardiola will have a wealth of talent to work with when he comes to Munich in the summer, with Bayern currently 12 points clear of the Bundesliga at the mid-point of the season.