'Barcelona wanted Michael Laudrup instead of Pep Guardiola in 2008' | inside World Soccer

In a surprise revelation, Pep Guardiola was not Barcelona's first choice to replace Frank Rijkaard as the club's coach in 2008, with Michael Laudrup believed to be the main target.

Barcelona wanted to sign Michael Laudrup before appointing Pep Guardiola in 2008
Barcelona wanted to sign Michael Laudrup before appointing Pep Guardiola in 2008

Photo: Getty Images

In searching for Rijkaard's replacement, the Catalan giants turned to their former star on the pitch, who was then working on the bench at Getafe.

Getafe President Ángel Torres knew that Laudrup had made his mind up to leave once he knew of interest from Barcelona.

"Laudrup decided not to continue with us because in the spring of 2008 he had spoken with (then Barça Director of Football) Txiki Begiristain," Torres said in an extract of forthcoming Danish book about Laudrup "A Gentleman in New Clothes".

"Barcelona initially wanted him to replace Rijkaard. The President (Joan Laporta) wanted that.

"Txiki then told me that Laudrup was one of the coaches they were considering ahead of the next season."

Barcelona eventually turned to Guardiola and the Spaniard led the club to win 14 trophies during a trophy-laden four-year spell at the Camp Nou.

After missing out on the job at Barça, Laudrup went on to Spartak Moscow instead, before heading back to Spain with Real Mallorca and latterly to the Premier League with Swansea City.

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