Guardiola has destroyed Gotze – agent

Volker Struth was scathing in his assessment of the way the Catalan coach has treated his client, who he says needs to feel the faith of the club

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has “destroyed” Mario Gotze and is responsible for his struggles there, according to the midfielder’s agent.

The World Cup winner with Germany had been expected to play a starring role last season but was shuffled around positionally by Guardiola before being dropped for crucial semi-final ties in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal.

And the 23-year-old’s representative has pointed the finger of blame at the trainer as the reason for the midfielder not fulfilling his potential so far, though he also ruled out an exit as of now . 

“Guardiola has destroyed Gotze. He feels like the coach doesn’t have faith in him and yet still he is asked to be decisive when he gets on the pitch,” Volker Struth told Bild .

“I’m surprised that Guardiola didn’t use Gotze in important matches like the German Cup and Champions League semi-finals. He only plays in the easy games.

“I wonder why no one at the club has realised that and defended Mario. Bayern need a figure like former president Uli Hoeness again.”

Gotze switched from Dortmund to Allianz Arena for €37 million in 2013 at Guardiola’s request but has failed to truly make an impact in either of his two seasons in Bavaria.

Guardiola is welcome back at Barcelona – Laporta

The presidential hopeful would be eager to reunite with his former coach, and stated that Lionel Messi must be made to feel comfortable at the club

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta says the doors are open for Pep Guardiola to return to Camp Nou, but insists that Luis Enrique will remain coach next season.

Guardiola was promoted to become first-team coach of the Catalans in 2008 during Laporta’s first spell as president before he led the club to the treble that season and delivered a further 11 trophies during a four-year spell.

And Laporta remains open to the idea of bringing the current Bayern Munich boss back to Camp Nou one day.

“I’m on friendly terms with Pep and if he were interested in coming back, we’d talk about it,” the lawyer said on Cuatro . “However, Luis Enrique will be the coach next season.”

The latter led the Blaugrana to their second treble last term with the help of talisman Lionel Messi – who scored 58 goals in 57 appearances in all competitions – after a fallout between the pair in January was resolved.

Messi’s impact led Laporta to talk of the importance of cultivating an environment in which the Argentine feels comfortable.

“I hope Leo keeps running the show to a great extent. He will never call for a coach’s head,” he continued. “What we have to do is create a team in which he feels thoroughly at ease. We’re talking about the best player in the history of football.”

Laporta is one of the frontrunners to assume office when Barcelona’s presidential election is held on July 18 and he hit out at previous presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, who is also running in the vote, for the club’s troubled state as they face legal action over the deal which brought Neymar to Catalunya from Santos.

“They whipped up a lot of resentment with their vote of censure and got up to all sorts,” Laporta said of his successors. 

The 53-year-old also ruled out the signing Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, stating: “He’s a Real Madrid icon and is negotiating a new contract.

“I’ve already got payback for them signing Luis Figo by buying Samuel Eto’o. As everyone knows, what goes around comes around.”

Bayern Munich have shown no faith in Gotze, claims agent

The ex-Borussia Dortmund talent is struggling for confidence at the Allianz Arena, though he is not thinking of leaving the club

Mario Gotze’s agent has hit out at Bayern Munich for not showing his client enough faith, stating the midfielder is suffering from a crisis of confidence as a result.

The 23-year-old made headlines in 2013 for a €37 million move to the German champions but has failed to become pivotal in coach Pep Guardiola’s plans, with the Catalan unable to find the World Cup-winner’s best position on the field.

His struggles culminated in being dropped for die Roten’s Champions League and DFB-Pokal semi-final clashes last term despite injuries to Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, and his representative has now revealed the dissatisfaction at the situation.

“It is natural that he was disappointed and he reflected afterwards,” Volker Struth told Bild. “Of course, I sometimes wished that Mario would have got more backing.

“As a player you are wondering: ‘Why am I not playing as a starter?’ Mario explicitly went to Bayern in order to play such great matches and win titles.”

Nevertheless, Struth insisted Gotze is happy to remain at Allianz Arena and fight for his place despite increased competition coming in the form of new arrival Douglas Costa.

“No. Mario did not even think about that [a summer exit] for a second,” he continued. “He is an unbelievably professional footballer who works very hard. Many people don’t see that at all.

“I think the evaluation of his two years at Bayern is often incorrect. He played around 50 games each season and won four titles. And you should never forget that he recently became only 23 years old.

“I am convinced: if Mario feels confidence it is easier for him to bring his unbelievable potential on the field. Then he will be one of the best players in the world.”

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Douglas Costa not at Robben or Ribery's level – Lucescu

The Shakhtar boss does not think the winger is good enough to force his way into Bayern’s starting XI yet – though he is confident in his potential

Douglas Costa is not yet ready to displace Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at Bayern Munich, according to Mircea Lucescu, the Brazilian’s former coach at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Bayern signed the 24-year-old for €30 million to bolster their options in attack after Robben and Ribery’s injury-hit seasons contributed to Bayern’s defeats in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal semi-finals.

But though Lucescu believes Costa has the potential to eventually become a game-changer for die Roten, he nevertheless maintains his protege is not yet of the calibre to fill Ribery or Robben’s boots.

“I don’t think Douglas is good enough to start for Bayern yet,” the 69-year-old told Bild

“Ribery and Robben are still on a different plain. But Douglas is can grow further there and still make it. 

“He has the quality, but the Bundesliga is at a different level [compared to the Ukrainian Premier League].”

Costa moved to Donbass Arena from Gremio in 2010 and had gone on to score 38 goals in 202 appearances in all competitions before his transfer last Wednesday.

The Brazil international is Pep Guardiola’s third signing this summer following the arrivals of goalkeeper Sven Ulreich as well as ex-Red Bull Leipzig loanee and Stuttgart talent Joshua Kimmich.

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Ribery vows to return from injury nightmare

The Bayern Munich winger admits he does not yet know when he can remove a protective ankle cast but is adamant his career is not drawing to an end

Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery has vowed that his ankle injury nightmare will not prevent him from returning to football for too long.

The former France international, who missed last summer’s World Cup due to a back complaint, has been sidelined since March with an ankle problem picked up against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

Ribery has been forced to wear a protective cast over his foot as a result of numerous setbacks to his recovery plans and question marks have been raised in some quarters over whether he can return to full fitness and form.

Bayern have also splashed out €30 million on Douglas Costa, prompting sporting director Matthias Sammer to insist that Ribery was not being replaced by the Brazilian.

But Ribery himself has made it clear he does not believe his top-level career could be coming towards an end.

“I don’t know if the plaster cast will be removed if I still have pain. We will see,” the 32-year-old told Kicker.

“It doesn’t matter if I am 20 or 35 years old now, this injury has nothing to do with age. I will come back, that’s for sure.”

Ribery managed just 15 appearances in the Bundesliga last season.