Pep Guardiola has reflected, before the official announcement of his signing with Bayern Munich, that he has missed football during this season.
The Coach is midway through a year-long self-imposed sabbatical from the game after four years in charge of the senior side at Barcelona.
Before his agreement to take over at Bundesliga outfit Bayern was announced, the 41-year-old sat down with FIFA to discuss his break, what he has missed and what it would take to bring him back into the game.
“How am I feeling now? I’m fine. It had got to a point where I decided enough was enough. My family also deserved much more than I’d given them in recent years,” explained the Coach, when asked of his comments when leaving Barcelona last summer that he felt empty.
“And right now we’re experiencing a real adventure, tasting a very different way of life. But, though I may not look it, I’m only 41. That’s young for a Coach and I’ll be back coaching this year.”
Guardiola has spent a majority of his break in New York.
“When you’re a footballer you don’t stop thinking about football. And when you’re a Coach even more so, it’s always on your mind. But it’s true that both socially and culturally the United States isn’t a ‘soccer’ nation.
“There are other sports that have a stronger bond with New York. Fourteen million people live there and everybody does their own thing. And we’re doing our own thing too: living, getting to know this way of life and enjoying the millions of things this place has to offer.
“Am I now able to walk the streets without being bothered? I could in Barcelona too! I’ll always be able to go around without being overwhelmed, though it is true that in New York you can go completely unnoticed.”
The tactician was asked of what he has missed from the game during his break and what sort of project (pre-Bayern’s announcement) that he would like to join.
“I've missed most the game itself. All the stuff that surrounds it, not so much. But I have missed [figuring out] the way a certain team plays and how you can beat them, deciding on which players to select to try and win a match.
“For me at least, that’s the only reason I’m in this game. If it wasn’t for that… Everything else, well, they’re not things that I have a constant need for.
“I can live perfectly well without them. In fact I’d say you can have a much better life without them. But the game itself, that’s what draws you in.
“What project would I like? Like every Coach, you want to be wanted. It’s as simple as that. However well you’ve done before, what you’re aiming for doesn’t change.
“Feeling wanted is the most important thing in our lives, and it’s the same for our people and for a club too. You want them to show they want you and also to think that you might enjoy your time there.
“Like I said when I started at Barcelona, I didn’t go into the job thinking about winning titles come May. It’s about having a good time and encouraging the players to try and do what you think is best for winning matches. The idea is to enjoy the game.”