Pep Guardiola will return to the Camp Nou later today after a three year absence to watch the return leg between Barcelona and Manchester City.
The Bayern Munich manager is taking advantage of a week without fixtures in order to scout potential Champions League opponents in person.
Programming note: Barcelona vs. Manchester City will be shown LIVE today at 3:45pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.
Last night, Guardiola tried to remain incognito as he watched Atletico Madrid outlast Bayer Leverkusen at the Vicente Calderon. The former Barcelona boss is also planning on attending Friday’s Champions League quarterfinal draw in Nyon, Switzerland.
According to the Spanish publication AS, Guardiola is still a Barcelona season ticket holder.
However, it is not yet known whether the 44-year-old will be in a box at the Camp Nou or in a more remote location in the stands, given his history at the Catalan club. What is known is the club legend will be accompanied by family and friends to today’s match.
After starting his playing career in Barcelona’s youth system, Guardiola was named head coach in 2008. He would then lead La Blaugrana to three La Liga titles and two Champions League victories – 14 titles overall – before resigning in 2012.
His last match at the Camp Nou came during Barcelona’s 4-0 derby win over Espanyol in May 2012.
Before the game, a video with the best images of the Guardiola era was shown in the stadium and the teams were greeted by fans waving flags with the Barca and Catalan colors.
Then Guardiola stepped out onto the pitch and took his place on the bench. A massive banner with his photo was unveiled with the words ‘T’estimem Pep’ – “we love you Pep” written on it.
Once the match was completed, a few words were spoken about Guardiola as the coach stood on the pitch surrounded by his players. Then the Barca legend addressed the club, his players and supporters for the last time as their manager.
His final words were:
“You should know that I will miss you. I’m the person who is losing the most, but I’m leaving you in the best possible hands – particularly of this group of players. There pressure was strong and I needed to ease it a bit, but you don’t need to do that – stay with us, because this still has a long way to go.
“I wish you all the best of luck – I’ll see you soon and you will never lose me!”
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