Guardiola let Ibrahimovic down – Raiola

The agent launched a scathing attack on the Catalan club, insisting Guardiola let him down and says the Spanish coach will never admit that he made a mistake with the player

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, has slammed Pep Guardiola and Barcelona for the way they treated the striker, stating he has “no respect for the club”, while insisting that Paris Saint-Germain will win the Champions League in the near future.

Ibrahimovic spent one year at the Catalan giants, joining from Inter for a big-money fee and a part exchange with Samuel Eto’o. However, the Sweden international had a fractious relationship with erstwhile coach Guardiola and was eventually sent on loan to AC Milan, where he would remain on a permanent deal.

And Raiola has criticised the reigning Spanish champions and Guardiola for the way they handled his player.

“Who was supposed to defend Zlatan in Barcelona if it hadn’t been me? His wife? The whole club talked him down,” he told 11 Freunde.

“He was the king at Inter and after his move he was suddenly a nobody. Pep Guardiola let him down, without any explanation.

“Ask Guardiola what his mistake was. He won’t answer, because he can’t admit he made a mistake – that would insult his intelligence.

“If you pay €79 million for a player and don’t let him play, that’s not just totally dumb but also financially damaging. Most of the agents wouldn’t criticise this policy because they are afraid big Barcelona will never ever buy a player of theirs.

“I just don’t care. I have no respect for a club if the club has no respect for my players.

“If the relationship doesn’t work out, you have to end it.”

The agent went on to say that he encouraged Ibrahimovic to join PSG as he saw the potential in their project with the Qatari Investment Authority before anyone else and expects them to dominate European football in the years to come.

“It’s not just 100 per cent sure that PSG will win the Champions League but also the treble. Zlatan and I chose this project specifically because we believe in it.

“I already brokered Maxwell’s move to them deliberately. He was my first player there because I understood earlier than everyone else what was growing there. That’s also the reason why I am so successful.

“I can read the market, I know what happens and why it happens. I even affect it.”

Guardiola confident Bayern slump is over

The Spanish coach took the blame for his side’s lack of intensity in recent weeks and is confident they will put in a good performance against Madrid

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola is hopeful an increased intensity in training can inspire a repeat of last season’s treble.

Guardiola’s side have already wrapped up their Bundesliga defence and remain in the hunt for Champions League and DFB-Pokal success. 

Having been far from their best in the aggregate quarter-final victory over Manchester United, Bayern were then comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Borussia Dortmund last Saturday as they suffered back-to-back Bundesliga defeats. 

After progressing to the Pokal final with a 5-1 win over Kaiserslautern in midweek, Bayern face Eintracht Braunschweig before taking on Real Madrid in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final. 

And Guardiola acknowledged a lack of intensity in training could have contributed to their mini-slump, which he admits was his mistake.

“The game [at Braunschweig] is very important to us. It is the last test before the game against Real Madrid,” he said.

“I am sure that against Real Madrid, one of the best teams in the world, we will put on a good performance.

“After the game against Dortmund, we improved our training intensity. That was my mistake and not the players.”

Guardiola will be without Manuel Neuer and David Alaba for the game against the Bundesliga’s lowest side – the former having limped out of the defeat to Dortmund with a calf problem. 

Alaba is suffering with flu although Guardiola did have positive news on the recovery of Thiago Alcantara, who was ruled out for up to eight weeks with a knee injury in March.

“His healing process is proceeding according to plan,” he said.

“We know how important the game in Braunschweig is. The best players will play. There are some injured so no rotation. We can not afford to rest.”

Schweinsteiger: Bayern want to 'dominate' Madrid

The midfielder says the Bavarians will continue to try and impose their possession-based style on the newly-crowned Copa del Rey winners at the Santiago Bernabeu

Bastian Schweinsteiger has revealed Bayern Munich’s will aim to dominate Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola has imposed the same possession-based style of football on the reigning European holders as he used during his time in charge at Barcelona.

That system has served him well so far, with Bayern already crowned Bundesliga champions and on track to retain their Champions League title having seen off Manchester United in the quarter-finals.

Madrid, armed with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo in attack, pose a very different threat than the soon to be deposed Premier League champions, but Schweinsteiger says his side will not change their approach one bit.

He said: “I want to defend the  Champions League, that is our goal. It has never been done before.

“For us it is the case that we want to dominate the game. When we press we press as a team, the guys at the front will be our first line of defence.”

The 29-year-old also admitted Germany’s World Cup campaign has begun to emerge on the horizon, but is wary of making any bold predictions as to their chances of lifting the famous trophy.

“Sure, I want to have success with Germany in Brazil. However, I don’t want to make the mistake of speaking about the trophy before the tournament has even begun!” 

Eintracht Braunschweig-Bayern Munich Preview: Basement boys hoping to upset distracted champions

Arjen Robben has called on Bayern Munich to arrest their Bundesliga slump in the top-versus-bottom clash with Eintracht Braunschweig.

Bayern completed the defence of their title in record time, wrapping up the crown with seven games to spare at Hertha Berlin on March 25, and have also moved into the semi-finals of the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal final – meaning a second successive treble is on the cards.

However, Wednesday’s 5-1 demolition of second-tier Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals was Bayern’s first domestic victory in four games, as they have taken their foot off their gas since their title-wiining party in the capital.

Pep Guardiola’s men have earned just one point from their last three Bundesliga outings – a far cry from their run of 53 league matches without defeat, which came to an end at Augsburg two weeks ago.

A 3-0 loss at home to rivals Borussia Dortmund in last weekend’s Der Klassiker was particularly galling for the Bavarian giants, but they have the perfect chance to get back to winning ways at rock-bottom Braunschweig this weekend.

And Robben is looking for a timely boost ahead of the Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

“We’re not quite at our best at the moment and there’s still room for improvement. We have to do better in the coming weeks, starting against (Eintracht) Braunschweig on Saturday,” the Dutchman told the official Bundesliga website.

“We have to show we’re ready. Winning is also important as it will help our confidence ahead of the Real game.”

For Braunschweig, time is fast running out to stave off the threat of relegation. Torsten Lieberknecht’s men are two points below the relegation play-off spot, while the gap to 15th – which guarantees safety – is three.

Braunschweig had been on a three-match unbeaten league run until they suffered a disappointing 2-0 setback at fellow strugglers Freiburg last weekend.

The hosts will be without defender Jan Washausen, with the 25-year-old suffering a serious knee injury in training on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the trip to Eintracht-Stadion is likely to come too soon for Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (calf), while full-back Rafinha begins his three-match ban after being sent off against Dortmund.

Boost for Bayern Munich as Neuer expects to return against Real Madrid

Germany’s No.1 missed the win over Kaiserslautern with the calf injury he picked up against Borussia Dortmund but he is confident of being available for the trip to the Bernabeu

Bayern Munich have been boosted by the news that goalkeeper Manuel Neuer expects to be fit for Wednesday’s Champions League showdown with Real Madrid.

The Germany international was forced off at half-time in last weekend’s Bundesliga defeat to Borussia Dortmund because of a calf problem.

However, while Neuer was left out of the squad for Wednesday night’s DFB-Pokal win over Kaiserslautern, the 28-year-old shot-stopper is confident of being available for the first leg of Bayern’s Champions League semi-final tie against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“I feel very good,” he told his club’s official website. “I’m assuming that I can play on Wednesday.”

After taking over in goal for the 5-1 rout of Kaiserslautern, the 20-year-old Lukas Raeder is once again expected to deputise for Neuer in Saturday’s Bundesliga meeting with Eintracht Braunschweig.