Some Barcelona fans still haven't moved on from Pep Guardiola. But Pep Guardiola has moved on from Barcelona.
Three years after leaving the Catalan club upon reaching the top of the football food chain, the legendary player and coach is returning to Camp Nou for a emotional semifinal tie, now in the Bayern Munich sideline. But Pep is not interested in being honored or seeing a tribute video. For him, Wednesday's match is about business, not a nice Coming Home Story.
In his pre-match press conference, Guardiola talked about his emotions ahead of the clash, how he plans to stop Lionel Messi, and what his team is going to do. Check out some highlights:
Return to Camp Nou
"I've been sitting in this chair for four years. It is inevitable to have feelings right now. I knew this moment would come after I left for another great club, so the first time is always the first time. But I'm not here to be honored. I'm here to take Bayern to a final."
"You have got to understand that this is not a normal match for me, it is obvious. But I'm here to work, so I'm going to work. I know what I have to do tomorrow and nothing will distract me from my goal."
Camp Nou welcome
"I'm sure they'll give me a warm welcome. But I want them to support Barça as much as I want the Munich fans to support Bayern when we go there next week."
"I had a certain idea of how to play but watching their last matches, they've added some wrinkles I didn't expect. There are very few defensive systems that can counter talent. So what we want to do is to maximize our virtues to hopefully expose some of their weaknesses and take advantage. Barça is a team made and created to have possession of the ball, but I'm not going to give my players a different message than the one I've been giving for two years. We will do everything I believe we have to do and we'll see how far we go, and which team will be in Berlin."
"They start with the advantage. While I know them, I can't control their talent. I can imagine what they can do differently, but their talent will ultimately control any decision-making. I can imagine what Messi and Neymar will do, but they will execute things, and that's how they have an advantage over the coach. The opposite is also true. They know me very well, but they don't know my players. I will try to surprise them with that."
Scoring is key
"We have to score at least one goal. The only reason we are at the semis is because of Thiago's goal in Portugal. If we don't score, it will be virtually impossible."
Celebrating a goal?
"My respect towards Barça doesn't depend on me celebrating a goal or not. If my guys score I will be very happy because I want to win. But we can also talk about all this and the game will finish 0-0, although I don't expect that result at all."
"The way he's playing right now, there is no defense that can stop him. It is simply impossible. No coach will be able to accomplish that. He's used to being marked in every possible way and he always ends up having success. You can't stop talent. Leo is just too good."