Start the major club managerial carousel, and it’s not even Christmas yet.
Bayern Munich made the worst-kept secret in soccer official today, announcing manager Pep Guardiola will leave the club at the end of the season, deciding not to renew his contract. Replacing him will be Carlo Ancelotti, who has been out of a job since being sacked as Real Madrid boss in the summer in favor of Rafa Benitez.
“We are grateful to Pep Guardiola for everything he has given our club since 2013,” Bayern executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement released by the club. “I am convinced that Pep and our team will now work even more intensively towards achieving our major sporting goals – especially as it is now confirmed that Pep is to leave FC Bayern.”
Bayern currently remains in all the competitions they set out to compete in at the start of the season. They sit atop the Bundesliga table with an eight-point lead over Borussia Dortmund. The club finished tops in their Champions League group with 15 points, placing them six points above Arsenal. They also remain in the hunt for the DFB-Pokal, having won three matches to put them into the quarterfinals.
Guardiola has been linked to numerous jobs in England. It was thought should he leave Bayern that Manchester City would be the obvious landing spot, but with Chelsea job now open, things could get complicated. Roman Abramovich would be foolish not to attempt a coup, with Guus Hiddink likely just a short-term option to salvage this season. Ancelotti was thought to be a possibility for Chelsea as well, but he is crossed off the list.
“Carlo Ancelotti has enjoyed success everywhere as a coach and has won the Champions League three times,” said Rummenigge. “Carlo is a calm, balanced expert, who knows how to deal with stars and favors a multifaceted style of play – we were looking for this, and we have found it. We are looking forward to working with him.”
The 56-year-old Ancelotti has managed giant clubs all over Europe, with Chelsea, AC Milan, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid all on the Italian’s resume.