x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Pep Guardiola opens up about Camp Nou exit and declares Thiago Alcantara interest

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola finally shed some light on his Barcelona resignation and is also targeting midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola gestures during a training session this week. Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola gestures during a training session this week. Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

RIVA DEL GARDA, Italy // Pep Guardiola, the Bayern Munich coach, finally shed some light on his resignation at Barcelona on Thursday and confirmed he hoped to raid his old club for midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

Guardiola, 42, quit as head coach at Barca after winning 14 titles during his four-year reign at Camp Nou between 2008 and 2012.

"After four years the desire was gone in Barcelona," Guardiola said at Bayern's training camp in northern Italy. "The same players, the same opponents, the same journalists, the same games.

"Now everything is new.

"It's good for my experience. My family will come to Munich soon, it's a good education and therefore I'm grateful."

He also confirmed the European champions' interest in Alcantara.

Spanish media had already linked the 22-year-old creative midfielder with a move to Bayern, and Guardiola admitted he has already asked the Bavarian giants to sign the midfielder.

"Yes, I want Thiago Alcantara, I have asked [Bayern to get him]," he said. "I know him very, very well. He's a great player and can cover three, four, five positions.

"I have talked to [chairman Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge and [director of sport Matthias] Sammer, we will have to wait and see. Thiago is the only player I want, it will be him or no one. We have many players, but we need the special qualities Thiago Alcantara brings."

Both Manchester United and Real Madrid have been linked to Alcantara, who captained Spain Under 21 to the European title in Isreal and was voted player of the tournament.

Thiago, who has a contract at Barcelona until June 2015, scored a first-half hat-trick as Spain beat Italy 4-2 in the U21 final in Jerusalem last month.

Bayern already have several midfield stars with Germany's Mario Goetze signed from Borussia Dortmund, plus Holland's Arjen Robben, France's Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos and Swiss Xherdan Shaqiri vying for places.

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