Guardiola will make a great Barcelona president – Laporta

The politician has admitted that he held talks with the Bayern Munich coach over a return, but insists Luis Enrique will remain coach if he wins

Joan Laporta believes Pep Guardiola would make a “great” president for Barcelona in the future and believes the club’s fans would be “reckless” to re-elect Josep Maria Bartomeu for the role this week.

Guardiola was made Barca coach during Laporta’s reign and enjoyed an unprecedented spell of success at the club, guiding them to a European and domestic treble in his first season. 

The Bayern Munich coach has since voiced his support for Laporta’s campaign in Saturday’s presidential election and the 52-year-old has said Guadiola will be welcome back at Camp Nou in the future.

And Laporta admits that he has spoken to the former midfielder about a return and believes it will happen in some capacity in the future.

“I’ve spoken to Pep Guardiola about him returning,” he told Radio Marca. “He’s under contract with Bayern, but he’s a free spirit who will always be linked to the club.

“He could be a great president in the future.”

Laporta and Bartomeu are the front runners heading into Saturday’s election, although the former feels he has the best chance of winning. He also stressed that re-electing his rival would be a bad idea for Barca after the 50-year-old, who replaced Sandro Rosell at the helm in January 2014, played a role in the Neymar transfer which has led to a legal case being opened up against the club.

“We’ve turned the polls on their heads. We’re ahead, with 36 per cent of voter intention,” he added.

“It would be reckless to have Bartomeu as president after conducting a poll to sell Lionel Messi, and when Barca have been prosecuted for the first time in history over the Neymar case,” he told Radio Marca.

“Bartomeu and Rosell are two sides of the same coin. They stand there talking about what it means to be a club when they’re there to protect the interests of the sponsors Qatar, which is a ridiculous link that does not make sense financially with being the first time that Barca have had a sponsor on their shirt.

“If I’m president, Luis Enrique stay. He’s improved Barca’s style of play and added a certain degree of versatility to it.

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Manchester United warned: Lewandowski would cost more than €50m

Louis van Gaal’s side have been linked with the Poland international but his representative says the striker is unlikely to follow Bastian Schweinsteiger to Old Trafford

Manchester United have been warned that Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski would set them back at least €50 million.

Louis van Gaal’s side are short of strikers, with Robin van Persie set to sign for Fenerbahce, Radamel Falcao having moved to Chelsea and Javier Hernandez expected to depart.

The Red Devils have already spent heavily this summer, bringing in Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay and Matteo Darmian, and on Tuesday it had been reported that Lewandowski is top of the list to fill a striking berth.

However, when asked about reported interest from Manchester United, the player’s agent, Cezary Kucharski, told Polish television: “I think it would have to be a very high offer, definitely higher than €50m.

“Robert is one of the most valued strikers on the market who guarantees goals, guarantees assists, excitement. He has shown that over many years during his career.

“Every year he is an even better player and plays at a higher level and that is very important for other clubs because he has credibility and guarantees at least 30 goals a season.”

Bayern Munich have already warned United they will not sell any of their other players to Van Gaal’s side after Schweinsteiger left for Old Trafford, and Kucharski says any move is unlikely.

“There must be a signal from the club, from Munich,” he added. “There is no such signal so we are not thinking about it, because even thinking about a change of club would be unfair in my opinion to the current employers.

“Bayern would have to think about why they would get rid of Robert Lewandowski. It seems to me that there is no reason to even think about it.

“With a player of Robert’s class, the truth is that not a lot of work is required because really there are only two directions in which he could go in the future, England or Spain, and only with Bayern Munich’s acceptance.”

Schweinsteiger: My Manchester United move is not about Van Gaal

The German World Cup winner says the tradition and quality of the club, and not the manager, were his main motivations for swapping the Allianz Area for Old Trafford


Bastian Schweinsteiger says Louis van Gaal was not a big factor in his decision to join Manchester United.

The German World Cup winner has moved to Old Trafford in a £12m (€16.9m) deal, signing a three-year contract with the Red Devils.

Schweinsteiger has worked with the United boss previously during his time at Bayern Munich but says the allure of the club enticed him to Old Trafford.

He told MUTV: “Of course, I know him [Van Gaal] so it was a little bit easier. It’s not about him, though; it’s more about the club, about Manchester United.

“It’s such a big club with tradition and quality in the team, and I think we’re capable of winning titles this season.

“Of course, Louis is a great coach and everything is good, we’ll see how we do in the league.”

Schweinsteiger will become the first German to feature for Manchester United and he says he is looking forward to playing in the Premier League.

“It’s a big honour. I had a joke with Wayne [Rooney] about it before, but it’s a big honour to be the first German player here for the first team. It’s a great feeling,” he added.

“I’ve watched a lot of Premier League games; there are some German players playing for Arsenal – Lukas Podolski is a friend of mine, so we talk about the league.

“Every game is interesting and tough, so I’m looking forward to playing in those games at a high level. I think we have a great team that can do a great job.”

Xhaka won't be Bayern's Schweinsteiger replacement – Gladbach

Max Eberl has insisted there is no hope of a deal being struck for the Swiss midfielder to join Pep Guardiola’s German champions

Bayern Munich have no chance of signing Granit Xhaka this summer, Borussia Monchengladbach sporting director Max Eberl has warned.

Pep Guardiola’s side are thought to be on the lookout for a replacement for Bastian Schweinsteiger, after the Germany captain joined Manchester United on Monday.

However, while the 22-year-old Xhaka was linked with a move to the Bavarian giants earlier in the summer, Eberl has insisted that the Switzerland international is going nowhere.

“Bayern will not get Xhaka!” Eberl told Bild. “There is no scenario in which Granit will go to Bayern this summer.

“The only players who will leave us are Peniel Mlapa and Amin Younes. Granit will be here with us – no matter what.”

Xhaka has netted four goals in 85 appearances for Gladbach since arriving from Basel in 2012. He has also struck six times in 34 caps for Switzerland, and his former national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has in the past referred to Xhaka as a “young Schweinsteiger”.

Gotze was always destined to reach the top, says former coach

The Bayern Munich player’s talent was obvious from a young, according to Michael Jager, who coached him at Eintracht Hombruch

Germany’s World Cup final hero Mario Gotze was always destined to reach great heights in his career, according to a former youth team coach of his.

Exactly a year ago, after 90 goalless minutes at the Maracana in Brazil, Gotze popped up with the decisive extra-time strike in a 1-0 victory against Argentina as Germany won their fourth World Cup.

At 23-years-old, Gotze has already won four Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokal medals in spells with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

Michael Jager, a coach of Gotze during his time at Eintracht Hombruch, remembers spotting the Bayern star’s talent early on.

“You could already see that he was very talented,” he told Spox.com. “You couldn’t say for sure if he would play in the Bundesliga, but he was one of the best players and you could see that he could become very good.

“The final of the World Cup was very intense for me. Especially when Gotze was subbed in and scored the goal in overtime. That was fantastic, I got goosebumps.”

After winning the World Cup, Gotze was perceived by some to have failed to hit his usual lofty standards during a 2014-15 campaign that saw Bayern once again win the Bundesliga.

However, Helmut Albat – who Gotze worked with at SC Ronsberg – believes the 23-year-old needs more minutes on the pitch.

“He was noticeable at a young age. He was two years younger than the others, already had a good technique and passed the ball in front of the goal. You don’t see that very often,” he said.

“He has a hard time right now, many people are criticising him. How can you criticise someone who only plays five minutes?

“You cannot say that he is bad when he only gets to play very few minutes. I don’t like what is happening right now. The club isn’t standing beside him and the press is very hard to him.”