Monday Kickoff: Guardiola introduced at Bayern Munich; Balotelli ruled out of semifinals; and more

GuardiolaBayernLockerRoom1 (FCBayernMunich)

After about one year spent in Manhattan, New York, Pep Guardiola is ready to return to soccer management.

The former Barcelona boss was introduced on Monday at Bayern Munich, impressing journalists at the press event with his German language comprehension, introducing himself in German and answering some questions in the native language.

The Spaniard signed a three-year contract with Bayern this past winter, and takes over the club after they won the treble in Jupp Heynckes’ final season before retirement.

“I’m ready. My time at Barcelona was wonderful but I needed a new challenge,” Guardiola told Bundesliga.com. “FC Bayern gave me that opportunity.”

Guardiola won 14 trophies in his four years as manager including two UEFA Champions League titles, three La Liga titles, and two Club World Cup titles. Living up to last year’s accomplishment’s won’t be easy, and Guardiola will likely be judged by the bar set by Heynckes last year in winning the Champions League, Bundesliga, and German Cup.

Here are some more stories to kick off your week:

BALOTELLI RULED OUT OF SPAIN MATCH

Italy will be shorthanded against a tough opponent for the second match in a row.

After falling to Brazil, 4-2, in the final match in Group A without the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi in midfield, the Azzurri lost forward Mario Balotelli for the upcoming match against Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinals.

Doctors ruled out Balotelli from the game on Sunday, diagnosing the AC Milan front-man with a strained muscle in his left leg. The 22-year-old scored one goal in each of Italy’s first two matches, first a game-winning goal late against Mexico, and then a second-half penalty kick against Japan to help with the thrilling comeback.

PSG STARS SUPPORT POTENTIAL MANAGER-IN-WAITING BLANC

Though Paris Saint-Germain hasn’t announced that manager Carlo Ancelotti is leaving, it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll be on his way to Real Madrid this summer.

After the PSG ownership tried and failed with a number of candidates on their shortlist, they seem to be edging closer to hiring former France National Team and Bordeaux manager Laurent Blanc to a one-year-contract.

If Blanc comes aboard, he’ll have the respect of two of the biggest stars in the game, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, who have both thrown their support behind the 47-year-old Frenchman.

As a player, Blanc was highly decorated, winning a World Cup and European Championship among other titles in Ligue 1 and with Manchester United in the Premier League. As Bordeaux manager, he won Ligue 1 in 2008-2009, usurping the title from yearly favorites Lyon with an underdog team.

QUICK KICKS

Fernando Torres’ tour guide when he was on his honeymoon in Tahiti was none other than Tahiti National Team substitute Efrain Araneda. The two exchanged shirts and caught up after their match. (REPORT)

Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun has started training with his old club Maccabi Haifa in Israel, hoping to return to fitness and earn a contract with West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. (REPORT)

AC Milan is closing in on their first two signings of the summer transfer window, defender Davide Astori and midfielder Andrea Poli. (REPORT)

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet learned of his firing from the club while on the BBC Sport set working as an analyst for the Spain Confederations Cup match against Nigeria. (REPORT)

Lazio and Brazil National Team midfielder Hernanes says he would be happy to play at PSG if the rumors about them making a bid for him are true. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see Guardiola living up to expectations in Munich? How much do you see Italy missing Balotelli against Spain? Do you believe Blanc can be successful in Paris?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Confederations Cup, European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Guardiola introduced at Bayern Munich; Balotelli ruled out of semifinals; and more

  1. The Imperative Voice says:

    Poyet had a strange denouement, you know, the whole affair of the visitor’s locker room, him complaining about noisemakers given to home fans. He apparently plans to appeal Brighton’s decision, which sounds weird except he’s mid-contract and they’re probably trying to avoid paying him a cent by making it for cause. Personally I’d find the next gig and let the lawyers sort out the money issue….not like he should really want to coach Brighton anymore after how they let this leak.

  2. Travis says:

    Unfortunate that Balotelli will not be playing in the semis, hard to see a way through for Italy without him. They have other talent up there but none of them is quite the same as Balotelli is

  3. THomas says:

    I like how they have head shots above each locker, just in case the players can’t read their name and/or number they can use their own face to find the correct stall.

    • Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

      lolololololol I was wondering if I was the only one thinking this. “Hey Dante, this one’s yours.”