Carlo Ancelotti confirmed as Pep Gaurdiola's replacement at Bayern Munich
Published 20/12/2015 | 11:03
The Premier League's big guns could now be lining up to recruit Pep Guardiola after it was confirmed he would leave Bayern Munich this summer.
The German champions announced the former Barcelona coach, 44, would be on his way out of the Bavarian club at the end of the season with former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti succeeding him.
Bayern confirmed the news in a tweet, with a full statement from the club expected to be released soon after.
Guardiola has been touted as a possible replacement for Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, while he has also been linked with both Manchester City and Manchester United.
Ancelotti arrives after taking a one-year sabbatical, following his departure from Real Madrid in the summer, signing a three-year contract.
"We're grateful to Guardiola for everything he has given to our club since 2013," Bayern's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement published on the Bundesliga club's website.
"I am convinced that Pep and our team are now going to work even more intensively on realising our sporting ambitions, particularly now that it has been confirmed that Pep will be leaving Bayern.
"Carlo Ancelotti has had success as a coach everywhere and he has won the Champions League three times.
"Carlo is a calm, level-headed expert who knows how to work with stars and plays a brand of football rich in variety.
"That is what we were looking for, and that is what we have found. We are looking forward to working with him."
Guardiola, 44, took over from Jupp Heynckes in the summer of 2013 on a three-year contract and won a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double at the end of his first season in charge.
His side also lifted the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup that term, but they were knocked out of the Champions League in the semi-finals by Real Madrid.
That is where their European journey ended last season as well with Barcelona getting the better of them, while they were knocked out of the domestic cup by Borussia Dortmund one step from the final.
They did win the Bundesliga again comfortably, though, and they are on course to make it a hat-trick of domestic league triumphs under Guardiola this season, leading second-placed Dortmund by eight points at the midway stage of the season.
The Bavarians are also into the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal and the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will face last season's beaten finalists Juventus.
The Champions League is the title Guardiola craves more than any other with Bayern, having won it twice in his Barcelona days.
He is looking to emulate Heynckes, as well as Jose Mourinho, who he had a tempestuous relationship with when the pair worked at Barca and Real Madrid respectively, by winning that title with two different clubs.
His replacement on the Bayern bench, Ancelotti, is another to have achieved that feat, winning with AC Milan and Real Madrid, while Ottmar Hitzfeld and Ernst Happel are the only other two coaches to have pulled it off.
Ancelotti is also the only coach to have won the Champions League three times - twice with Milan and once with Real - while he also has a Premier League, Serie A and Ligue 1 title on his lengthy list of successes.
Like Guardiola, the Italian has won a record three UEFA Super Cups and is now looking forward to pursuing more trophies with Bayern.
"I'm honoured that I will be the coach of Bayern Munich from next season," he told fcbayern.de.
Ancelotti returns from a one-year sabbatical during which he underwent surgery on his back, but recently confirmed he was ready to return from the start of next season.
"I had some fantastic experiences abroad, but when I left Madrid I decided to take a year off and that is how it is," he recently told Italy's RAI radio.
"Some clubs have already made enquiries and I told them all the same thing: that I want to start again from next year. I've taken on three jobs during a season, with Juve, Milan and PSG, and they all turned out to be negative."
There continues to be much speculation about Guardiola's future, with Hitzfeld earlier in the week suggesting he would join Manchester City in the summer.
The Catalan appears almost certain to be heading to the Premier League, although he too could opt instead for another sabbatical, having already taken a year out following four success-filled years in charge of Barca.
He won three Primera Division titles between 2008 and 2012, lifting the Spanish Cup and the Champions League twice, having won the league six times and the Champions Cup once as a Barcelona player.
On Sunday, he was returning to his Barcelona home to spend Christmas and New Year with his family.
He will return to Munich in the first few days of January to enter into the final six months of his contract with them, hoping to add to his title collection.
As matchwinner Thomas Muller recalled after Saturday's 1-0 win over Hannover, it would not be the first time an outgoing coach has been successful at Bayern.
The 26-year-old said: "Jupp Heynckes' contract was expiring back then, and we went on to win the treble."
Bayern also won a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double under Hitzfeld in 2008, just five months after he confirmed his contract was not being renewed.
The German League leaders are not in action until January 22, when they will continue their quest for a fourth successive title with a match at Hamburg.