Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says he is a Barcelona fan again following his side’s semi-final elimination from the Champions League.
Despite beating the Catalan giants 3-2 in Munich on Tuesday night, Bayern succumbed 5-3 on aggregate to leave them with just the Bundesliga title this season.
Guardiola was proud of his team and says he will now be rooting for Barca in the Berlin final.
“It was a good game from us and we can leave the stadium with our heads held high tonight,” Guardiola said.
“Of course we are sad because we wanted to reach the final in Berlin, but we lost this tie in Barcelona.
“Congratulations to them, they deserved to go through. With all my heart, I now hope that they win the Champions League.
“I want them to win it for a fifth time.”
Given Bayern’s lofty expectations, Guardiola will inevitably be criticised for winning only one trophy this season, having lifted four in his first year in charge.
He still has a year left on his contract in Munich and will try to improve on that haul next season, saying the criticism has never and will never deter him.
“We’ve won the Bundesliga and what the critics have to say about my work doesn’t interest me,” Guardiola said.
“I’m not here for those who criticise me, I’m here for Bayern and for the fans.
“I’m proud and tonight the fans were also justifiably proud.”
Club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was humble in overall defeat, admitting that “over the 180 minutes, Barcelona deserved to go through.
“But we go out with our heads held high,” he added on his club’s website. “We have been stopped from reaching the final in Berlin by probably the best team in the world.
“But we made it to the semi-final, and we did that for the fourth time in a row, so that’s okay.
“I think the team did well. They fought fantastically and scored three goals, just unfortunately we conceded two.”