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Real Madrid Wanted To Replace Rafa Benitez With Pep Guardiola

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La Liga

Real Madrid Wanted To Replace Rafa Benitez With Pep Guardiola Last January

Madrid, Spain – Real Madrid tried to lure Pep Guardiola to the club ahead of sacking coach Rafa Benitez last winter, according to Spanish journalist Marti Perarnau.

Guardiola’s intention to leave Bayern Munich was well known during his final season with the Bundesliga champions and club president Florentino Perez made a stunning attempt to bring him back to La Liga, with Benitez struggling in his short tenure at the club.

Benitez was sacked in January by the club and replaced by Zinedine Zidane, but Madrid are reported to have first approached Guardiola in November – two month before the former Liverpool manager was relieved of his duties.

Perarnau, whose latest book “Pep Guardiola: La Metamorfosis” was published last week, told Cadena Ser that Guardiola’s agent was approached by Madrid over a move to the Santiago Bernabeu for the former Barcelona boss.

“Between November and December last year when there was an important crisis with Benitez, Real Madrid contacted his [Guardiola’s] agent [Jose Maria] Orobitg, asking him if there was the possibility to talk to him looking ahead to next season [2016-17],” he said. “I was there. Since the beginning it was out of the question.”

Guardiola rejected the approach having already more or less decided that he would leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season, with touted interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and current club Manchester City.

Whether or not Real Madrid ever truly believed that Pep would be interested in taking over at the Santiago Bernabeu is up for debate, but don’t forget that club president Perez has managed to pull off the seemingly impossible before by signing Luis Figo, an icon at the Camp Nou, for a world record fee back in 2000.

Needless to say, had he accepted, Pep’s Catalan status (as its up for debate whether or not they like to continue being part of Spain) would had been revoked by popular demand in Barcelona.