Nyon: Pep Guardiola is looking forward to returning home after the Champions League semi-final draw pitted Bayern Munich against Barcelona.
Josep Guardiola acknowledges Barcelona fans in Camp Nou at the end of his last game at the helm of the club against Espanyol on May 5, 2012. PIC/Getty Images
There was an audible gasp at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon when the Spaniard’s current side were drawn against the club with whom he achieved so much as both player and manager.
Guardiola’s four-season spell at the Barca helm yielded 14 trophies, including two triumphs in the Champions League — something he will now look to deny them.
The eyes of the footballing world will be trained on the Nou Camp on May 6, when he leads Bayern out for the first leg of a tie which will decide who progresses to the Berlin finale.
“I knew it would happen sooner or later,” Guardiola told the German media at a press conference.
“It’s my first return to Barcelona, my home. I was there as player, I was there as coach. Of course it is special for me, for Thiago (Alcantara, who also left Barca for Bayern), for my staff. I am very happy that I can experience this.
“It is a nice game, but not easy. Believe me, Barcelona are the strongest!
“I’m happy for Luis Enrique. He’s a great coach, a great guy, a great man. We will definitely try to play the final in our capital.”
Guardiola and Enrique played alongside one another for many years at the Nou Camp, winning a host of medals together.
Now they will sit in opposite dugouts in a tie which everyone in Barcelona is excited about.