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Pep Guardiola: 'I want to coach in the Premier League'

Pep Guardiola has cleared up why he is leaving Bayern Munich. Despite Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's best efforts to keep the Spaniard at the helm, the 44-year-old feels the need for a new challenge.

Pep Guardiola has confirmed that he is leaving Bayern Munich in order to pursue a challenge in England's Premier League. "The reason I have not extended my contract is simple. I want to manage in the Premier League," said Guardiola in a press conference on Tuesday.

Guardiola stressed the only reason he was making the decision was because of his desire to coach in the Premier League. "I need a new challenge," said the Spaniard. "If I was 60 or 65, I would have stayed until Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told me to go home. I think at my age, it is the right time to go."

After giving thanks for the chance to be Bayern coach, Guardiola added the timing of his departure worked for all sides. "I think it's good for everyone that a new head coach is coming. Good for the club, and for journalists too."

Despite the Bundesliga excellent fan experience, it is England's passion that has lured Guardiola. "I want to experience England's stadiums and emotions." The Spaniard said he had received offers, but had yet to sign anything. "When I have a new club, they will communicate that. At the moment, I can't say anything because there is nothing to say."

Manchester City remain the front-runners to sign Guardiola, but city rivals Manchester United and London side Chelsea are reported to also be keen. In any case, Guardiola will have the pick of the bunch next summer. Wherever the Spaniard ends up, none of his current crop of players will be joining him. "I won't be taking any players with me, no. They must stay here."

Before then though, Guardiola has six more months left in charge of Bayern Munich. "With a Champions League win, my time here is complete," said Guardiola in regards to his last stretch in charge of the Bavarian giants. Nevertheless, the European title is not the one Guardiola holds in the highest regard. "The Bundesliga is the most important title. It shows how professional we are. The Champions League is momentum."

Bayern set off to Qatar for their winter training camp on January 6 and Guardiola confirmed that Mario Götze, Mehdi Benatia and Franck Ribery will travel with the squad even though they are unable to train.