Pep Guardiola said coaching FC Bayern München has been "a dream" and hopes to sign off with the high of a European title as he spoke for the first time in 2016 after deciding not to renew his contract when it expires at the end of the season.
The former FC Barcelona boss has enjoyed great success since replacing Jupp Heynckes in June 2013, winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the 2014 DFB Cup, but has his heart set on one final hurrah in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League.
'I would have stayed'
"I am very grateful for Bayern for this huge opportunity," Guardiola told the assembled press on Tuesday. "If I were 60 or 65 I would have stayed, but I’m too young. The only reason I am not renewing my contract is that I am looking for a new challenge. Winning the Champions League would make my time here complete."
Guardiola kicks off the final phase of his Bayern assignment with a trip to Hamburger SV on 22 January. Not long after that, the record German champions have knockout football to look forward to in the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup at Bundesliga 2 side VfL Bochum 1848 and the Last 16 of the UEFA Champions League against Juventus.
'Ancelotti a perfect choice'
Should he succeed in all three competitions, he would emulate the achievement of Heynckes, who handed over to the former Spain international midfielder having won an unprecedented treble. It will leave his successor, Carlo Ancelotti, with a weighty burden of success, but Guardiola is convinced the man who has accumulated a horde of silverware during a career at some of Europe's biggest clubs is up to the challenge.
"Coaches come and go, but I think Carlo Ancelotti is a perfect choice to take over and I wish him all the best," the Catalan said. "The squad won trophies under Heynckes and for me. They’ll be successful under Ancelotti, too. I’ll only be a small part of the history of their great club. I will give my best until my last day in the job."
While Guardiola has yet to make a concrete decision on his future, he did confirm that his next station will be somewhere in England's top flight. "I want to manage in the Premier League," he said. "I have several offers from England, but I haven't signed anything yet."