Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says Pep Guardiola brought him to tears when he told him he wanted to leave the club in 2015.
Guardiola spent three seasons with Bayern, winning three Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup.
The Catalan eventually decided he wanted a new challenge, moving to Manchester City in 2016. Rummenigge says he has “a real friendship” with Guardiola and became emotional when he heard he was on his way out.
Rummenigge told Bild: “One evening I will always remember: In November 2015, at a meal together, he told me that he had to leave the club. He needed a new challenge. Pep played with open cards from the start. It was an emotional evening; he cried, I also shed tears. That was memorable for me.”
Rummenigge said the pair spent many an evening drinking wine together.
“Pep, today you had better leave your car behind and get yourself taken home,” he recalled. “He is totally reliable, a great person with whom you can have great fun.
“Pep and I text each other, he’s not a fan of WhatsApp. We wrote to each other on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we are in regular contact. A real friendship has developed.”
Former captain Philipp Lahm has similar memories of the City boss. He enjoyed a late-career renaissance under Guardiola, after being moved from his customary right-back spot into midfield.
Guardiola has switched other players between full-back and midfield, including Oleksandr Zinchenko at Man City, while Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich has flourished after making the same move.
“He sharpens the understanding of each individual player for his position and makes it clear how the whole team should play,” Lahm said. “In the autumn of my career, that was definitely the ideal discussion for me.”
Guardiola was linked with a return to Bayern when Niko Kovac was sacked midway through last season, but remained at City while the Munich giants appointed eventual treble winner Hansi Flick.
The Catalan coach, who turns 50 on Monday, recently signed a new contract to extend his successful stay at Etihad Stadium.