Photo: Former Barca Coach Pep Guardiola Signs with Bayern Munich
Josep “Pep” Guardiola, former manager of Spanish soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona, has agreed to take the helm of Bayern Munich at the conclusion of this season, the German club confirmed on Wednesday.
Guardiola has reportedly agreed to a three-year deal and will replace Jupp Heynckes, who plans to retire at the end of the 2012-13 season.
On Tuesday, Bayern had said the latest reports indicating the Spaniard would be Heynckes’ successor made “no sense.”
The rumors heated up after Guardiola, who turns 42 on Friday, confirmed during the FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony that he intended to return to coaching next season.
Bayern, traditionally the German league’s top team, failed to capture the Bundesliga crown last season but finished runner-up to English club Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League competition. The club leads the German league thus far this season with 42 points, nine points clear of second-place Bayer Leverkusen.
Guardiola, recipient of the 2011 FIFA World Coach of the Year award, stepped down as Barcelona’s manager in June 2012 after winning 14 titles in four years with the star-studded club, including the 2008-09 and 2010-11 UEFA Champions League crowns and three consecutive Spanish league crowns between 2009 and 2011.
“You have to say: ‘hats off,” former German soccer great and Bayern’s honorary president, Franz Beckenbauer, said of the signing.