Bayern: Good image helped land Guardiola


MUNICH (AP) -- Bayern Munich wouldn't have been able to win the race to hire Pep Guardiola if money had been the only factor, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Thursday.

Bayern, Germany's most consistently successful club, announced on Wednesday that the former Barcelona great had signed a three-year deal starting next season to become its new coach.

Guardiola, who won 14 titles over four seasons in Barcelona, had previously been linked with possible moves to wealthy English clubs.

"If it had been exclusively about money, we wouldn't have had any chance at all," Rummenigge said.

"The overall concept" played a key role in Guardiola's choice, Rummenigge said.

"Bayern has a good image in the world of football. I was able to confirm that in talks with Pep. We are a club that's reliable, serious and well structured. The focus is entirely on football," the chairman said.

Guardiola, who is on a one-year sabbatical in New York after leaving as Barcelona coach last season, is hard at work learning German. He turns 42 on Friday.

His first words -- in German -- were, "How's Jupp?," according to Rummenigge's report on a telephone conversation he and Guardiola had Wednesday.

Veteran Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes is retiring at the end of the season.

Rummenigge said Guardiola would not be coming to Munich any time soon, perhaps not before he takes over the job on July 1.

"Pep definitely does not want to disturb in any way the work of Heynckes and the current season," Rummenigge said. "It's important for him that Jupp can live well with the decision."

Bayern contacted Guardiola before Christmas and then had a series of meetings with the Spaniard's management in Munich before the deal was agreed on and signed after the holiday. It was clear immediately that Guardiola had "great sympathy" for Bayern, Rummenigge said.

Heynckes, who told the club before Christmas that he was leaning toward retirement after the season, has been offered to stay in Bayern in a yet to be defined role.

Guardiola was likely to bring two assistants with him and now had the time to plan the season ahead.

Rummenigge described Guardiola as a "super guy," with an "incredible personality, an incredible aura and charisma."

"He is a young man with whom we hope to start a new era," Rummenigge said.