Pep Guardiola’s return to Nou Camp won’t distract Barcelona

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has vowed his team will not be distracted by Pep Guardiola’s return to the Nou Camp as they prepare for tomorrow night’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Bayern Munich.

Guardiola left Barca in summer 2012 after a trophy-laden four-year stint at the helm, and secured a trip back to his former club last month as Bayern overcame a 3-1 first-leg deficit to prevail 7-4 on aggregate against Porto.

The 44-year-old won 14 titles – including two Champions Leagues – while coach of the Catalan giants, but Bartomeu promised the club remained focused ahead of his imminent return.

“Bayern are coming here to progress from this tie and, although he did a spectacular job when he was at Barca, we cannot get distracted.

“Once the game is over, I’m sure we will see each other in the changing rooms.”

Barca are on course for a potential treble-winning campaign under first-year coach Luis Enrique, a former team-mate of Guardiola.

They hold a two-point advantage over Real Madrid at the top of the Primera Division with three games remaining and will take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final later this month.

“Luis Enrique has received criticisms for his rotation policy,” Barca defender Javier Mascherano said.

“But we arrive to the critical point of the campaign with 23 players ready to play and that is the merit of our coach.”

Guardiola, who won six titles in an unforgettable first season in charge of Barca, including the Primera Division, Champions league and Copa del Rey trophies, is set to get an ovation from the Barca faithful.

“It’s a special date for all Barca fans,” Luis Enrique said. “It’s a special game because Pep is in charge of Bayern and it’s his first game (back at the Nou Camp) since leaving Barca.

Meanwhile Barcelona are confident Dani Alves will remain at the club beyond the end of the season.

The Brazil international has yet to sign a new deal despite his current contract expiring this summer.

The 31-year-old right-back has been linked with Manchester United and Manchester City in recent months although PSG remain favourites for his signature.


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