Bayern Munich have unveiled new coach Pep Guardiola. The former Barcelona manager explained that he didn't choose the Bavarian giants as his next coaching destination - they chose him.
Guardiola (pictured above, second from left) was unveiled to much fanfare Monday in Munich. After a year away from the game, excitement has been building over what the Spanish coach would say at his first press conference in Germany, in German.
"Forgive my German," Guardiola said in a thick Spanish accent. "I lived for a year in New York and it is not the optimal location to learn German."
"I would like to thank Bayern Munich for this opportunity to be the new Bayern coach," he said. "I am ready to take on this new challenge."
Guardiola was adament that it was not him who chose to go to Bayern, but the club management who picked him.
"They called me," he said.
Bayern Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called Guardiola "the most successful coach in the world."
"It is a partnership that both sides want," he said. "Bayern Munich wants Pep and Pep wants Bayern Munich."
Guardiola stepped down as Barcelona manager after the 2011-12 season. He has spent the last year on a sabbatical of sorts living in New York City.
"I need a new challenge and Bayern Munich gave me this opportunity," Guardiola said, when asked why he left Spain to come to Germany. "For this reason I am ready to do my best."
He will take charge of his first training session on Wednesday.
Big shoes to fill
Bayern first announced that Guardiola would be taking over for Jupp Henyckes back in January. To some the hiring seemed like Bayern management forcing a successful Heynckes into an unplanned retirement, but to others it as an opportunity to nab the world's most in-demand coach.
After leading Bayern to a Bundesliga-Cup-Champions League treble, Heynckes has set the bar high for his successor. The 68-year-old, who has ruled out coaching again, set a number of records with his Bayern squad this year, including fewest matches to secure the league title, most number of wins, fewest goals conceded and best goal difference.
Guardiola, however, is no stranger to success. His Barcelona squad won the treble during the 2008-09 season, his first at the helm of the Spanish club. During his three seasons as Barcelona manager after the treble, Guardiola captured a second Champions League trophy, two league championships, two Club World Cups, another Copa del Rey, and three Supercopa de Espana titles.
As a player, Guardiola spent more than ten seasons with Barcelona, winning six league titles and the predecessor to the Champions League, the European Cup.
Bayern look to get even better
He joins a Bayern side that, shockingly, have improved their squad since their historic season came to a close. The marquee signing of the summer (so far) has been that of Mario Götze from Borussia Dortmund. The 21-year-old midfielder cost 37 million euros (nearly $50 million) but is the young gem of German football and was a key part of Dortmund's success over the last three years.
Also joining will be 22-year-old ex-Mainz defender Jan Kirchhoff, who signed a pre-contract with Bayern in January. Another defender who was a regular for Bayern and the German national team, Holger Badstuber, is expected to rejoin the first team when he recovers from a knee injury late this year.