Football: Guardiola warns City players that they will have to prove themselves once more

Pep Guardiola waves as he speaks to Manchester City fans as he is officially unveiled as the club's new manager.
Pep Guardiola waves as he speaks to Manchester City fans as he is officially unveiled as the club's new manager.PHOTO: AFP

AFP - Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that they have to prove themselves all over again following his arrival at the club.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach was making his first public appearance as City boss on Sunday in front of thousands of fans at a festival held at their Academy Stadium.

The Spaniard is already familiar with the players he is inheriting, having faced his new club in Champions League contests in two of his three seasons at Bayern Munich.

In addition, the new manager has also been able to glean information on the squad from director of football Txiki Begiristain, a close friend going back to their days together as Barcelona players.

Guardiola has also moved quickly to bring in new talent, signing German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund for £20million (S$35.7 million) and Spain winger Nolito from Celta Vigo for £13.8million.

But he insists that all of his players are starting with a clean slate - regardless of what they have achieved in the past.

Guardiola said: "I know them. I have played against Manchester City in the last two or three years many times. I spoke many times with Txiki too.

"I know them, I know their quality but they have to show me, show the fans again. The past is the past. The people don't come here to remember what we did. We are here to try again."

Guardiola has indicated that he will not seek to inflame a long-running rivalry with Jose Mourinho, who took charge of City's neighbours Manchester United in late May.

The two managers were involved in a number of public verbal confrontations in the two years between Mourinho's arrival at Real Madrid in 2010 and Guardiola's departure from Barcelona in 2012.

Guardiola, meanwhile, laughed off suggestions that he was about to make an attempt to bring five-time world footballer of the year Lionel Messi to City.

The Barcelona forward, who retired from international football last week, won two of his four Champions League titles when Guardiola was the club's manager.

But when asked about the possibility of a reunion in Manchester, Guardiola said: "He is not a bad player, this guy. But I am sorry - Messi has to stay in Barcelona for the rest of his career."