Iniesta, Guardiola and other Barcelona greats pay tribute to Carles Puyol

With nagging knee injuries dragging him down, Barcelona legend Carles Puyol reluctantly called it quits on Thursday.

As the curtain closes on a memorable 15-year career in the top flight, Barcelona put together a touching video to thank the shaggy captain for his services.

Barcelona legends, current and former, all got together to pay tribute to Puyol in the video above. Watch and enjoy.

(FC Barcelona)


Manchester United set to enter Kroos control

Just a couple of days remain before the January transfer window slams shut, and the rumor merry-go-round is certainly in full swing.

One of the main protagonists of this transfer window has been David Moyes’ Manchester United, following their early-season struggles. They don’t look likely to stop spending after snaring Juan Mata from rivals Chelsea, and now they’re looking at another world class midfielder.

Pep Guardiola has admitted that Toni Kroos can leave Bayern Munich, opening the door to a move to Old Trafford.

Also in today’s round-up, there’s news of an alleged Arsenal bid for Julian Draxler from Schalke. Read about it and more on today’s Paper Chase.


Bayern president lured Guardiola while on trip selling sausages


Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness revealed an interesting story on Wednesday, saying he convinced current manager Josep Guardiola to become the European champions’ new coach during a trip to sell sausages in the United States.

Yes, you read that right folks.

According to the Bayern chief, Hoeness held talks with the former Barcelona coach last year in New York, although only after first flying out as part of a private business venture for the family’s business.

In an interview, Hoeness revealed to Bild that he used the opportunity to secretly sound out Guardiola, who took a year’s sabbatical away from football:

"It was partly a business trip for my company," said Hoeness, who runs his family’s sausage factory. I went to Chicago first to visit Aldi. I knew that Pep was about to fly to Barcelona for his holidays and that a meeting there would have been far more dangerous, so we decided I would meet him in the States, where the risk of being spotted was smaller.

"I wanted to take him out for a meal, but that night, Alex Ferguson was dining in the very same restaurant. It certainly would not have been funny had he seen me and Pep together."


The trip, according to Hoeness himself, was a complete success. Bayern which officially confirmed in early-January that Guardiola had agreed to become Bayern’s new coach. Hoeness added:

"I had the signed contracts with me He just wanted to get to know me better. Of course it was an extraordinary trip. Nobody really expected Bayern to appoint Guardiola.

"We didn’t believe he was being serious with us either for a long time. What we are seeing now is a consequence of those few hours in New York."

Seems like a successful business trip that power brokers can only dream of.

FOXSoccer.com’s newswire services contributed to this report. Images provided by Getty and FOX Sports respectively. 


Bayern Munich eye Aguero swoop


After an impressive goalscoring start to the season, Sergio Aguero appears to have gained some admirers. Heading the list of clubs looking to sign the Manchester City forward are reigning European Champions, Bayern Munich. With the Bundesliga giants failing to be convincing in attack at present, the Argentine could be the long-term solution. We’ve also got the latest on Sami Khedira and Ilkay Gundogan. Click here for these and more rumors from the UK press.


Pep Guardiola: Snazzy in lederhosen


FC Bayern held its annual lederhosen photo shoot this week! Sponsored by brewer Paulaner, the tradition sees the entire club throw on old-school Bavarian garb and pour themselves tall glasses of beer. (This year, it was non-alcoholic, in a nod to star Franck Ribery’s devout Muslim beliefs.)

There’s also an element of good-natured ribbing around the shoot (after all, lederhosen isn’t exactly high-fashion these days)  and this year all eyes were on new Spanish manager — and known fashion plate — Pep Guardiola. 

In our eyes, Pep killed it. Does he look tremendous in leather pants or what?



Images via FCBayern.de


Arsenal close in on Bayern star

Luiz Gustavo was an integral part of the Bayern Munich team that won everything last season, but it now seems he is seen as expendable by new manager Pep Guardiola. Following rumors Chelsea were after the midfielder, it now seems Arsenal head the queue and want to tie up a deal as soon as possible. Time will tell.

For this rumor and the rest of today’s transfer gossip, click here.