Pep marvels at Messi on Camp Nou return

The Bayern Munich boss continued his brief trip to Spain by watching his former club play in Europe


Pep Guardiola made his first return to Camp Nou on Wednesday night after a near three-year absence and admitted it felt “really good” to watch his old club Barcelona take on Manchester City in the Champions League.

Guardiola opted against renewing his contract at Barca towards the end of the 2011/12 campaign after a trophy-laden spell at the club with whom he made his name as a player.

Having claimed three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, two Fifa Club World Cups and two Champions League crowns as coach, he cited fatigue for his decision to walk away.

After a year-long sabbatical in New York, he returned as boss of Bayern Munich for the start of the 2013/14 campaign and was quick to maintain the Bavarian club’s dominance of German football.

Bayern have never been drawn against Barca during that time, denying Guardiola the chance to go back.

He was present on Wednesday, however, to see Barca’s last-16 second leg against the English champions. The 44-year-old was captured by television cameras sitting in the stand with his father and personal assistant, former Spanish water polo player Manel Estiarte.

At half-time he gave his assessment of the opening 45 minutes to Catalunya Radio: “[Lionel] Messi is very good, very good. It’s a real luxury to watch him. The Barca players are very good and they are having a great season. They have played well and created a lot of chances. Let’s see what the draw brings.”

“It’s a great game we are watching. I hadn’t been back here for a while and I feel really good to be watching the game in the stands. It’s very special.”

Barca went on to win the game 1-0 to advance 3-1 on aggregate. 

On Tuesday night, he was at the Vicente Calderon to witness Atletico Madrid’s penalty shoot-out win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern are already through to the quarter-finals after a 7-0 aggregate victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Pep makes Camp Nou return

The Bayern Munich boss continued his brief trip to Spain by watching his former club play in Europe


Pep Guardiola made his first return to Camp Nou on Wednesday night after a near three-year absence to watch his old club Barcelona take on Manchester City in the Champions League.

Guardiola opted against renewing his contract at Barca towards the end of the 2011/12 campaign after a trophy-laden spell at the club with whom he made his name as a player.

Having claimed three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, two Fifa Club World Cups and two Champions League crowns as coach, he cited fatigue for his decision to walk away.

After a year-long sabbatical in New York, he returned as boss of Bayern Munich for the start of the 2013/14 campaign and was quick to maintain the Bavarian club’s dominance of German football.

Bayern have never been drawn against Barca during that time, denying Guardiola the chance to go back.

He was present on Wednesday, however, to see Barca’s last-16 second leg against the English champions. The 44-year-old was captured by television cameras sitting in the stand with his father and personal assistant, former Spanish water polo player Manel Estiarte.

On Tuesday night, he was at the Vicente Calderon to witness Atletico Madrid’s penalty shoot-out win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern are already through to the quarter-finals after a 7-0 aggregate victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Ozil rules out Bundesliga return: I'm really happy at Arsenal

The 26-year-old midfielder says that he has no plans to return to his native Germany, explaining that he is striving to improve his performances under Arsene Wenger


Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has revealed that he has no plans to return to the Bundesliga, insisting that he is happy at the Emirates.

The 26-year-old had been linked with a move to Bayern Munich at the start of the season after being criticised for a lack of impact during his debut season in the Premier League following his 2013 move from Liga outfit Real Madrid.

But Ozil maintains he has no plans to return to Germany and is enjoying playing in the “strongest league in the world”.

“A return to Germany is not an option for me right now. I am really happy at Arsenal and I want this to continue,“ Ozil told Express.

“I played in the Bundesliga and at Real Madrid. But the English Premier League is the strongest league in the world. Opponents never give up.

“Even if we’re 3-0 in front with Arsenal, the players never give up and fight until the very last second. You can only succeed here when you’re on top level physically.“

Ozil has also hit back at critics who have questioned his discipline and insists he his striving to improve his performances under Arsene Wenger.

“I don’t need to prove them anything. But it is correct that I have to work harder to reach my goals,” said the midfielder.

“That’s why I’m working as hard as I never worked before in my life. My body is more stable and I feel fresher. You need that in England.”

Muller: Bayern are the best in Europe

The 25-year-old believes his side’s 7-0 “slamming” of Shakhtar Donetsk sent a message out to the rest of the continent

Thomas Muller believes Bayern Munich’s performances in Europe and the Bundesliga have proven they are the continent’s “supreme club”.

Pep Guardiola’s men are top of the Bundesliga by 11 points and eased into the quarter-finals of the Champions League last week when they thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 7-0 in the second leg of their last-16 tie.

However, Bayern were handed a 5-0 aggregate beating by eventual European champions Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the competition last season, though Muller believes the current squad is better than anything else on the continent at present.

“We had a very strong group stage,” the 25-year-old forward told Sport Bild. “And our slamming of Shakhtar in the second round certainly sent a reminder to other clubs as to who we are.

“From what I have seen so far this season, we have been the supreme club in the Champions League.”

Bayern are back in action on Sunday with a home tie against Borussia Monchengladbach.

'Referees must stop respecting Bayern'

The Bundesliga champions have been accused of receiving favourable treatment from officials

Referees are respecting Bayern Munich to the point of reverence and it is damaging Bundesliga football, according to Werder Bremen general manager Thomas Eichin.

Eichin, who has been in his role since February 2013 having managed ice hockey club Kolner Haie, hit the headlines ahead of Bayern’s visit to Bremen at the weekend by claiming the reigning champions are given preferential treatment by officials.

Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer waded into the public debate, dismissing Eichin’s claims as baseless and asking if the Bremen boss had been hit in the head with an ice hockey puck.

Pep Guardiola’s men silenced Eichin, however, by running out comfortable winners over Bremen in their 4-0 rout of the mid-table hosts in a game that passed by without refereeing controversy.

However, Eichin has refused to let the issue die and has stressed there needs to be a more open discussion about how referees venerate Bayern, because their rivals cannot match them financially.

“I do not regret my statement,” the 48-year-old told Sport Bild. “The referees have an automatic respect for the players and staff of Bayern.

“This is not an accusation, it’s an observation. People just dare not address it for fear of reprisal.

“We have to sideline all of the respect and reverence for the Bavarians if we want to stand a chance over 90 minutes against them as we simply can’t go toe-to-toe in an economic sense.”