Under the leadership of Pep Guardiola, Barcelona was a force to be reckoned with. He molded Lionel Messi into arguably the world’s best player. His rivalry with former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho became legendary. The battle of egos between managers coincided with the battle of talents between of Messi and Ronaldo. Those years were perhaps the best to be a Barcelona fan.
In 2012, a year after Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League, Guardiola decided to end his tenure at Camp Nou and look for a new challenge. He took a year-long sabbatical in New York, leaving almost every football fan to speculate his next move. For the longest time there were rumors circulating that he would take over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Chelsea was replacing managers nearly every six months and it looked likely that Russian oligarch-owner Roman Abramovic was eyeing the Spaniard. Despite Roberto Mancini winning the Premier League title with Manchester City in 2011-12, he was not able to repeat the success the next season when they conceded the league to one of their biggest rivals Manchester United.
Guardiola had an illustrious CV and was highly regarded as one of the best managers in the world. Not many fans had imagined he would look beyond Chelsea and Manchester City to manage Bayern Munich, who had come off an incredible treble-winning season under then-boss Jupp Heynckes. In Marti Perarnau’s latest book, Pep Confidential, he explains what led to Guardiola deciding to take over Germany’s biggest football club.
The DailyMail highlights certain extracts from the book revealing some exciting insights into Pep’s life during his sabbatical. Guardiola was actually not offered a job at Old Trafford despite meeting Sir Alex Ferguson. It is written he was received offers from Chelsea and Manchester City, but rejected both to take up the job at Bayern. Why did Bayern see him fit? According to the report, Heynckes was not having the best time with them 2011-12. The club hierarchy that consisted of Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge knew it was time to look for a replacement when the German juggernauts lost three titles in that season.
Ironically, as the book recalls, Heynckes lead his men to a silverware-laden season (in 2012-13) by winning the DFB Pokal (German Cup), Bundesliga and the Champions League. Unfortunately, by that time Guardiola was already announced as his successor. According to the book, Guardiola was able to come to terms with Rummenigge and Hoeness on finances and football philosophy, in which he reportedly wanted to keep hold of (current Real Madrid mid-fielder) Toni Kroos.
Pep had a great first season with Bayern as he led them to two out of three competition wins including DFB Pokal and the Bundesliga. He won the league title with seven matches to go in the season. But his pack of hitmen were knocked out of the Champions League by Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid who eventually won their tenth European title also known as La Decima.
The Guardian reports that according to the book, Guardiola had also shown interest in the Old Trafford gig and was even considered after the sacking of David Moyes. But it looks as though it wasn’t meant to be… For now.