Guardiola at his last presser as Barca manager hugs President Sandro Rosell - David Ramos
The Pep Guardiola saga is over. After a spell of unprecedented success at FC Barcelona, Guardiola left football to spend time with his family. Nearly all the biggest teams openly courted him, including Chelsea, Manchester City, and AC Milan, but the Catalan coach has chosen Bayern Munich as his new team.
Pep Guardiola will take his unique brand of possession football to the Allianz Arena, replacing outgoing manager Jupp Heynckes at FC Bayern Munich at the end of this season. Despite a video interview in which Guardiola said he would like to manage in England, and despite Bayern's media director Markus Horwick calling reports of a deal "complete rubbish" within the last day, the former Barca manager has agreed to coach the German team for three years.
Bayern are a team with money to compete with the biggest buying teams in the world, unlike Arsenal and Milan. But they also have a storied winning tradition, unlike Manchester City, which according to Guillem Balague’s biography, Anoher Way of Winning, is just as important to Guardiola.
Perennial contenders for big trophies, Bayern also have a strong structure in place, in contrast to, for example, Chelsea. Despite Blues owner Roman Abramovich pining for the Catalan coach, his quick trigger in firing and hiring managers turned Guardiola off, according to several pundits.
In addition, Bayern have consistently been the team with the second-most possession in the "big four" European leagues – second only to Barcelona. Thus, the move appears natural from a stylistic viewpoint.
A possible match between Tito Vilanova’s Barcelona and Pep Guardiola’s Bayern thus becomes an extremely intriguing prospect. Who would dominate possession? Who would pass faster? Who would press better?
The world awaits an answer, but for now, nothing has changed. Bayern is still Heynckes’s team, and he has every chance to beat Barcelona to the Champions League this season, not next.