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Guardiola's secret weapon? A water polo player

updated 11:30 AM EDT, Mon June 24, 2013
Pep Guardiola has been on a year-long sabbatical in the U.S. after stepping down as Barcelona coach, but he returned to Europe in January for the Ballon d'Or when he was shortlisted for FIFA's world coach of the year award. Pep Guardiola has been on a year-long sabbatical in the U.S. after stepping down as Barcelona coach, but he returned to Europe in January for the Ballon d'Or when he was shortlisted for FIFA's world coach of the year award.
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Flying high
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Cup runneth over
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Six-time champs
Player turned coach
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Italy calling
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Josep Guardiola unveiled as coach of Bayern Munich
  • Former Barcelona coach takes over from Jupp Heynckes
  • Guardiola won 14 trophies in four years as Barca coach between 2008 and 2012
  • His first game competitive game will be against Borussia Monchengladbach

(CNN) -- In his bid to replicate Barcelona's unprecedented success at Bayern Munich, Josep Guardiola has a secret weapon -- a gold medal-winning water polo player.

In front of a crowded press room, and in fluent German, Guardiola outlined his pride at taking control of the recently-crowned European champions on Monday.

Earlier this year Bayern surprised the football world by announcing Guardiola would replace Jupp Heynckes as the club's coach for the 2013-14 football season, with the Bavarians subsequently going on to clinch an historic European, German League and German Cup treble.

And as he attempts to match the success the club enjoyed under Heynckes, Guardiola will have Manuel Estiarte at his side, a man who worked with the new Bayern coach at Barca and who won Olympic gold at the Atlanta 1996 Games.

Read: A fair World Cup deal for Brazil?

Former Germany international Michael Ballack brought the curtain down on his 17-year playing career with a match in Leipzig on Wednesday night. Former Germany international Michael Ballack brought the curtain down on his 17-year playing career with a match in Leipzig on Wednesday night.
Ballack bids farewell
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Bayern Munich players lift the trophy as they celebrate winning the UEFA Champions League final after beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday, May 25. Bayern Munich players lift the trophy as they celebrate winning the UEFA Champions League final after beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday, May 25.
Champions League Final: Dortmund vs. Bayern
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Champions League Final: Dortmund vs. Bayern Champions League Final: Dortmund vs. Bayern
Do Bayern Munich need Pep Guardiola?
CNN FC stars preview CL final

"He has participated in many Olympic Games," said Guardiola. "I like to take his influences from other sports, he will help us."

As well as Estiarte, Guardiola has brought three other members of his backroom staff from his Barcelona days -- assistant coach Domenec Torrent, scout and video analyst Carles Planchart and fitness coach Lorenzo Buenaventura,

"It's great that these people were willing to follow me," added Guardiola. "This is a challenge also for the families, I hope that we manage it well."

Guardiola forged his reputation at Barca, where he won 14 trophies in four years, including two European Cups, between 2008 and 2012 before deciding to take a sabbatical from the sport.

His achievements in Catalonia, and the style in which Barca achieved success, made the former midfielder one of the most sought after coaches in the world.

Read: Can anyone stop Spain at 2014 WC?

But Bayern's heritage -- the club has been crowned champions of Europe on five occasions -- tempted Guardiola.

"The decision to come to the club was based on its history and its players," continued Guardiola. "It's a fresh challenge for me, my time in Barcelona was wonderful, but I needed a new challenge.

"Bayern Munich gave me the opportunity, I am prepared to give my best. I'm ready."

Having spent the majority of his career with Barca, Guardiola is aware of the pressure that comes with working for one of the world's biggest clubs.

"At the top clubs, you are always under pressure but I believe in myself and I accept this challenge without a problem," said the 42-year-old.

"I will, of course, make changes, but I want to keep the level that Bayern has already achieved."

Read: Redemption for Bayern Munich in Champions League

Guardiola also spoke in glowing terms of Heynckes, who has announced he will not be taking a coaching role for the new season.

"I have had no contact with Jupp Heynckes but I hope to speak with him in the next few days," added Guardiola.

"I have a lot of respect for his achievements and it would be good to have his opinion. It's an honor to be his successor, especially after the way his team played last season."

Earlier on Monday, Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas suggested the biggest task facing Guardiola will be to impose his brand of football onto the German champions.

"His (Guardiola's) challenge is to transport his (possession football) paradigm to another culture," said former Porto and Chelsea manager Villas-Boas. "It's like what I tried to do at Chelsea: it's counter cultural."

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