FC Bayern München have landed former FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola on a deal that is set to run from July until summer 2016.
Guardiola stepped down from his post at the Camp Nou at the end of the 2011/12 campaign and has since been touted for a number of high-profile jobs. Bundesliga leaders Bayern have won the race for his services, with incumbent Jupp Heynckes, 67, poised to retire when the former Spain midfielder takes over.
"As a club, but also as friends of Jupp Heynckes, we have to show understanding regarding this decision," said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "We have to accept it and also respect it. In a very personal conversation we assured each other that we will do everything we can to make sure Bayern and Jupp Heynckes have a successful second half of the 2012/13 season and bring the German title to Munich.
We are very happy that we have been able to win over Pep Guardiola, who was courted by many big clubs. Guardiola is one of the most successful coaches in the world and we are sure he will give lots of glamour not only to FC Bayern, but also to German football in general. We are looking forward to the cooperation starting in July 2013."
Uli Hoeness, chairman of the supervisory board at Bayern, added: "Following the decision of Jupp Heynckes, to whom we are extremely grateful, we would appreciate it very much if the team could give this great coach a deserved and glamorous send-off. Only a coach of the calibre of Pep Guardiola could be a successor to Jupp Heynckes."
Guardiola, 41, masterminded an unprecedented spell of glory during his four years at the Barcelona helm, winning three straight Liga titles, the UEFA Champions League in 2009 and 2011, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups. That 2009 European title triumph was preceded by a 5-1 aggregate victory over Bayern in the quarter-finals.
Bayern came top of UEFA Champions League Group F and will face Arsenal FC in the round of 16, with the first leg in north London on 19 February and the return in Germany on 13 March.
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