LONDON, February 1 -Outgoing Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola will take over from Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City on a three-year deal from the end of the season, admitting it was a “risk” but also an opportunity he could not turn down.
“If I were 55 or 60 years old, I’d stay (at Bayern) until Karl-Heinz Rummenigge or Matthias Sammer said ‘enough’,” Guardiola said.
The Spaniard said he thought himself “young enough. I need a new challenge”.
He added that he couldn’t finish his career “without experiencing England”.
“I love getting to know new restaurants, new cities. I want to sample the atmosphere, the emotions. I know it’s a risk, but it’s exactly what I love.”
Manchester City, bankrolled by the Abu Dhabi United Group headed by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, earlier released a statement saying they could “confirm that in recent weeks it has commenced and finalised contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become MCFC head coach for the 2016/17 EPL season onwards”.
“The contract is for three years. These negotiations were a re-commencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012.
“Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation.
“Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the club.”
Guardiola announced in December that he would leave current club Bayern Munich in May after three years at the helm, with an intention to coach in England next season.
The 45-year-old Guardiola notched up the treble of Champions League, German Cup and Bundesliga titles in 2013, but in the last two seasons, Bayern have exited the Champions League at the semi-final stage.
The ex-Spain international previously coached Barcelona from 2008-12, leading the Catalan giants to domestic and Champions League glory in a remarkable run of success.
The much-travelled Pellegrini, 62, signed for City in 2013, becoming the first Chilean to coach in the Premier League as he took over from Roberto Mancini.
During his tenure, City have won 64 of the 99 games played. The only coach to have won more in his opening 99 Premier League games is Jose Mourinho (73).
– Four trophies -Manchester City, who currently sit second in the Premier League behind Leicester, remain in the running for four trophies this season. Pellegrini guided them to Premier League and Capital One Cup success in his first season, but the team failed to defend their title last season.
Pellegrini announced his departure at the end of a standard press conference to preview Tuesday’s Premier League game at Sunderland. That was quickly followed by the club statement.
Pellegrini said: “Before we finish I will tell you that I talked with the club and I will finish my contract on the original date in June.
“We extended the contract one year more but with the clause that one of the club or me may not use that extended contract. So, I will finish here on the original date, June 30.
“There has been a lot of speculation about things, but they (the club) are not doing anything behind me. I knew this one month ago. I don’t think it is good to have speculation about different things. I prefer to finish (by announcing) today – that is why I have told the press and told the players.
“I told the club two weeks ago that I would do it.”