Guardiola: Gotze the best professional I have ever met

The 44-year-old says he cannot understand the uproar over the midfielder’s chat with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and is refusing to abandon hope of the Champions League final

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has defended Mario Gotze in the wake of recent criticism, describing the Germany international as the best professional he has worked with.

The former Borussia Dortmund star was heavily criticised for his immaturity by club icon Franz Beckenbauer ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League defeat against Barcelona.

The 22-year-old was then forced to apologise to Bayern fans on Friday after he was seen joking around with Barca shot-stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen after the defeat at Camp Nou, which caused anger amongst some Bayern faithful.

However, Guardiola believes Gotze is the perfect professional and is adamant he sees nothing wrong in the World Cup final hero’s behaviour.

“Mario is the best professional I have ever met,” Guardiola stated at a press conference.

“He has his own style and has a lot of quality. We need him because of his abilities, regardless of whether he runs a lot or not.

“I don’t understand the uproar about Gotze’s chat with Ter Stegen. They are friends, why should they not be talking after the game… It’s okay if Mario felt the need to apologise, but I don’t think it was a problem.

“Mario is a sensitive guy. His life is all about football. He has done a great job this season and I see no reason to complain about his performances. He is a young player with a lot of potential. I am happy to be his coach.”

Guardiola admits that Bayern face a tough task to turn their Champions League tie with Barcelona around, but stressed that he will not throw in the towel just yet.

“We still have 90 minutes to turn things around, but I am realistic. It will not be easy. I am a fighter, though. I want to try and turn things around.

“The players who featured in Barcelona are my heroes. They tried everything within their limits. Of course, I am disappointed with the result, but we gave our all.”

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