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Sports

Ex-Bayern boss Heynckes rules out Barcelona job

Bayern Munich's treble-winning coach, Jupp Heynckes, has dismissed speculation that he might take over the vacant top job at Barcelona. The 68-year-old said he has no plans to return to the footballing fray just yet.

Heynckes on Sunday said he would not be a contender for the top job at Barcelona, saying he was enjoying his retirement.

The veteran coach and player said he doubted he would be able to begin as coach at another club after a glorious last season at Bayern.

"I think it would be impossible to take on a new club after my time at Bayern Munich," said Heynckes. "I keep myself busy, I have hobbies. I have my pets and a huge garden to keep me occupied."

"I understood the signals from my body and rightfully so," he said. "I feel well and enjoy having some time to myself."

Speculation had arisen about whether Heynckes would take the job after it was announced on Friday that Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova was resigning. Vilanova said he was leaving to have treatment for salivary gland cancer, having spent three month of the last season away from the Camp Nou trainers' bench and having since suffered a relapse.

An online poll on Saturday by the Catalan sports daily "Sport" showed that 36 percent of readers wanted Jupp Heynckes to take over at Barca. Last season, he sensationally led Bayern to Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles.

Vilanova was brought in by Barcelona as a replacement for Pep Guardiola, who left Barcelona to take a sabbatical year in New York. Guardiola this summer replaced Heynckes at Bayern.

Meanwhile, Madrid newspapers "AS" and "Marca" said the Catalan club had already contacted Gerardo Martino, manager of Argentine club Newell's Old Boys, about the vacancy.

rc/kms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)