Joshua Kimmich has revealed what was said when former Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola famously gave him an on-field dressing down following the side's Klassiker clash with Borussia Dortmund in March 2016.
In one of the most memorable snapshots of Guardiola's tenure in Munich, the Spanish tactician darted onto the pitch as soon as the final whistle was blown on the 0-0 draw at the Signal Iduna Park, and was seen animatedly gesticulating and talking to Kimmich.
It looked as though Guardiola was berating the then 21-year-old, but it turns out the opposite was in fact true. "I told him he’s one of the best centre-backs in the world," Guardiola said at the time. "He’s got absolutely everything.”
Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Kimmich explained further: “I played at centre-back and five minutes before the end Xabi Alonso went out and Medhi Benatia came in. Benatia went into my position in defence and I took Xabi’s place in midfield. But I was still thinking like a centre-back. I was playing too deep and Medhi and I were nearly in the same position.
"Pep shouted at me in the game to move up but I didn’t recognise why. So he told me exactly what he meant before I left the field. In the first moments I was surprised. But, when you know Pep, this is what you get. Pep wants to tell you immediately to make you better. He wants to tell you there and then. Maybe it looked strange but for me it was great. It showed how much he sees and cares.”
Watch: Kimmich's Bundesliga goals and assists
That is quite the understatement. Guardiola spotted the youngster while he was a still relatively unknown player in Bundesliga 2 at RB Leipzig, bringing him to Bayern in summer 2015 – a move Kimmich admits he thought was a wind-up when his agent first told him about it:
"I said: ‘Don’t joke with me.’ I couldn’t believe it because when you’re in the second league it’s not normal that Bayern want you. They can buy nearly any player in the world. It was even harder to believe Guardiola wanted me.”
The transfer has since proved to be an unqualified success, however, with Kimmich - approaching 100 Bundesliga appearances and capped 36 times at senior international level - one of the first names on the Bayern and Germany teamsheets.