Sport Soccer

Sunday 18 March 2018

Guardiola let his heart rather than his wallet decide on Bayern, says club chairman Rummenigge

Pep Guardiola addresses a news conference before the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2012 Gala
Pep Guardiola addresses a news conference before the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2012 Gala

Pep Guardiola used his heart rather than his wallet in deciding to become Bayern Munich's new coach, according to club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Guardiola yesterday signed a three-year deal with Bayern that will see him take over the record German champions in July.

In doing so Rummenigge believes Guardiola, who turns 42 tomorrow, turned down more lucrative offers.

"If it were purely down to money, then Bayern would have had no chance," he said.

Guardiola was a wanted man since stepping down as coach of Barcelona last summer.

He then decided to take a one-year sabbatical, yet six months into that break, speculation about where he would return had hit fever pitch.

His decision to join Bayern may raise a few eyebrows, but Rummenigge believes it was a pondered choice and that the Catalan was more attracted to what Bayern and German football had to offer.

"I think he was impressed with our overall concept," he said.

"Of course he'll be earning a few euros here too, but if finances had been the defining factor, then he would not be coming here on 1 July.

"He was pleased with the way we have established a financial independence."

Bayern are nevertheless Germany's richest football club and, after breaking the league's transfer record by splashing out 40 million euros on Javi Martinez last August, a host of current Barcelona players are inevitably going to be linked with a move to Munich.

There is still money in the bank to fund such arrivals and Rummenigge is not ruling out big name signings following Guardiola's arrival in the summer.

"Of course he is a coach with great charisma and there are players who would love to work with a coach like him," he said at a press conference in Munich.

However, Rummenigge is keen for the focus to turn back to the present and away from the future.

Guardiola's face will not be seen around Munich until current coach Jupp Heynckes, who has led Bayern to the top of the Bundesliga at the winter break, has completed his job at the club.

Heynckes will retire in the summer and Rummenigge hopes he gets a worthy send-off without the spectre of his successor overshadowing any eventual success.

"He (Pep) does not want to disturb the work of Jupp Heynckes and this season's work in any way," he said.

"Pep is staying in New York. We don't want any big show, and Pep doesn't want that either.

"We would like to give Jupp, a great man, a great send-off."

Heynckes has congratulated Bayern on Guardiola's appointment, a move which Rummenigge emphasised was only taken after the 67-year-old informed club bosses that he would not be extending his own contract beyond the end of the season.

"Jupp told us that he wanted to end his career," said Rummenigge. "That is when we started to deal with the issue intensively and when we began negotiations with Guardiola.

"He said that he could definitely imagine working in Munich, and we reached an agreement."

Guardiola has stayed silent since it was announced he would be Bayern's next coach, but speaking last week the Spaniard admitted his huge success at Barcelona means the pressure of expectation will be on him when he makes his return to the game.

Guardiola won 14 trophies during an incredible four years in charge at the Nou Camp, including three Primera Division titles and two Champions League crowns.

He is also credited with moulding a Barca side which many class as the greatest team of all time.

Speaking to in an interview conducted last week and published this morning, he admitted his time at Barca has put added pressure on him going into his next post, but sees his track record as a positive rather than a negative.

"Yes, but I wouldn't change it! I prefer to carry on like this, having experienced what I've been through, rather than starting out somewhere you've got to win everyone over," said Guardiola, speaking the Ballon d'Or awards ceremony.

"Things are a bit different now: when I started out at Barcelona some 86 or 87 per cent of people didn't want me.

"Now, thanks to how well everything went, there'll be clubs that are more interested in me.

"These things happen in life and you can't control them. We achieved what we did all together, thanks to so many people, and I'll remember everything I experienced during those years."

Bayern were one of a host of clubs reportedly keen on securing Guardiola's services, with Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, AC Milan, Roma and Paris St Germain all linked with him.

When asked about that speculation, Guardiola said: "It made me feel bad for the coaches who were in the clubs at the time. I personally wouldn't like it if I was coaching somewhere and my club was releasing this kind of information while I was still there.

"But I've kept out of everything, I'm still out of it and I'll stay that way, out of respect for the people who are trying to do their jobs.

"That said, it makes you think that you're not getting the offer because of how good you are, but because of what you've won.

"We won a lot and that's why I'm more in demand now than when I started out, when only three or four people at Barcelona believed in me. The others didn't feel the same way."

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport