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SBD Global/January 18, 2013/International Football

Pep Guardiola Ignored Bigger Offers To Coach Bayern Munich Starting In '13-14

Former FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola "turned down better financial offers to accept the job as Bayern Munich manager," according to Simon Rice of the London INDEPENDENT. Guardiola "was coveted by a number of clubs, most notably Chelsea." A surprise announcement from Bayern Munich Wednesday revealed that the Spaniard "had opted for a move to Germany." Club Chair Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has since revealed that Guardiola's "decision was guided more by his heart than his wallet." He said, "If it were purely down to money, then Bayern would have had no chance" (INDEPENDENT, 1/17). The London TELEGRAPH wrote the appointment of Guardiola "is the best possible recognition the Bundesliga could receive, according to the German media, who are celebrating Bayern's coup as a victory over the rest of Europe." The "Frankfurter Allegemeine" newspaper wrote: "The German record champions and German football as a whole could not have earned a greater seal of approval." Germany's "BILD" newspaper proclaimed the signing as Bayern's "biggest coaching coup of all time." And the "Süddeutsche" newspaper claimed Guardiola's appointment means "German clubs need fear nobody." It said, "Look here -- German clubs have reached the zenith. This transfer is a clear signal to the international football community" (TELEGRAPH, 1/17).

LEADING THE NEWS: In London, Sid Lowe wrote on the GUARDIAN's The Sport Blog "Gute Nacht (Good night)," so began the Spanish radio show Al Primer Toque at midnight, "prime time for the country's daily digest of sports news and debate." At around the same time, newspapers everywhere "were putting the finishing touches to their front pages." Guardiola "was on all of them." "PEPinazo", ran the headline on the cover of "Marca" -- "Bang!" His decision to join Bayern Munich "was everywhere and opened news bulletins." Not the sports section, the news. It is "not quite unanimous, but nearly." One famously controversial columnist calls it a "coward's" choice, insisting: "Pep has run away from the challenge, run away from Mou [Real Madrid Manager José Mourinho] and taken the easy option." "El País" newspaper said, "Guardiola chooses Bayern over the noise of England." The Madrid-based and largely Madrid-oriented "Marca" "gives over seven pages to the signing." "El Mundo Deportivo" newspaper called him the Kaiser, noting: "Herr Guardiola is off to Germany" (GUARDIAN, 1/17). In Madrid, Besa & Martín opined although the contract is economically inferior to what the English club offered, Guardiola "likes the organization of the Bundesliga," and the structure of Bayern Munich whose leadership is full of former players including Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeneß and Rummenigge (EL PAIS, 1/16). Also in Madrid, Andrés Aragón opined when Guardiola lands in Munich this summer to take over the reigns of Bayern, he will encounter a team "very different from the one he left in Barcelona." The team "will have a midfield with just as much potential, but more apt to direct confrontation than one touch football" (EL MUNDO, 1/17).

SURPRISE MOVE: In Paris, L'EQUIPE wrote Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenter was "surprised" by Guardiola's decision. Wenger said, "He told me a number of times that he wanted to come to England, so I am surprised that he chose to go to Germany." He added, "Bayern is an interesting club and the German championship is also interesting so his choice is understandable. It is not a step backwards. Germany, with possibly Spain, possesses the best group of young players" (L'EQUIPE, 1/17).
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