Football: Pep Guardiola ready for 'risk' with Manchester City

Pep Guardiola (left) reacts next to Manuel Pellegrini during a Champions League match in Manchester on Nov 25, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City pulled off a spectacular coup on Monday (Feb 1) in naming Pep Guardiola as their manager for next season but the Spanish supercoach said he is taking a "risk".

Guardiola, who leaves Bayern Munich at the end of the season, takes over from Chilean Manuel Pellegrini on a three year deal reportedly worth more than 15 million pounds (S$30.78million) a year.

Even though Manchester City are still in contention for the Champions League and the English Premier League title, Pellegrini said he knew City's Abu Dhabi owners were in talks with Guardiola and supported the move to announce it now.

The news far overshadowed any deal on the last day of the transfer market.

And the 45-year-old Guardiola, one of the most successful coaches in history, said he is ready to face the test of the English Premier League.

"If I were 55 or 60 years old, I'd stay (at Bayern) until Karl-Heinz Rummenigge or Matthias Sammer said 'enough'," Guardiola said.

But he added that he needs "a new challenge" and could not finish his career "without experiencing England".

"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 Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, released a statement saying they had in recent weeks "commenced and finalised contractual negotiations" with Guardiola to become coach for 2016/17.

"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 Bayern Munich in May after three years and wanted to move to England.

Guardiola notched up the Champions League, German Cup and Bundesliga treble in 2013, but in the last two seasons, Bayern have exited the Champions League at the semi-final stage.

The ex-Spain international coached Barcelona from 2008-12, winning three La Liga titles and two Champion League triumphs in a remarkable run of success.

The much-travelled Pellegrini, 62, signed for City in 2013 in place of 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).

Manchester City, who are second in the Premier League behind Leicester, remain in the running for four trophies. Pellegrini guided them to Premier League and League Cup success in his first season, but the team failed to defend their titles last season.

Pellegrini announced his departure at the end of a press conference to preview Tuesday's Premier League game at Sunderland.

"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."

The club statement quickly followed his comments. The move was quickly hailed as a masterstroke.

"He is one of the best managers in the world, no doubt about this," said Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp.

"He had two big, big clubs where he has worked at and now he will do his job at Manchester City.

"Pep won everything in Spain, nearly everything in Germany so I think he wants to win everything in England, that is clear."

The new coach led to immediate speculation of a big budget campaign by City to attract players such as Argentine superstar Lionel Messi. But press reports said veteran midfielder Yaya Toure and Belgian centre back and captain Vincent Kompany could be on their way out.

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