Pep Guardiola used his heart rather than his wallet in deciding to become Bayern Munich's new coach, according to club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Guardiola yesterday signed a three-year deal with Bayern that will see him take over the record German champions in July. In doing so Rummenigge believes Guardiola, who turns 42 tomorrow, turned down more lucrative offers.
"If it were purely down to money, then Bayern would have had no chance," he said.
Guardiola was a wanted man since stepping down as coach of Barcelona last summer. He then decided to take a one-year sabbatical, yet six months into that break, speculation about where he would return had hit fever pitch.
His decision to join Bayern may raise a few eyebrows, but Rummenigge believes it was a pondered choice and that the Catalan was more attracted to what Bayern and German football had to offer.
"I think he was impressed with our overall concept," he said. "Of course he'll be earning a few euros here too, but if finances had been the defining factor, then he would not be coming here on 1 July. He was pleased with the way we have established a financial independence."
Bayern are nevertheless Germany's richest football club and, after breaking the league's transfer record by splashing out €40 million on Javi Martinez last August, a host of current Barcelona players are inevitably going to be linked with a move to Munich. There is still money in the bank to fund such arrivals and Rummenigge is not ruling out big name signings following Guardiola's arrival in the summer.
"Of course he is a coach with great charisma and there are players who would love to work with a coach like him," he said at a press conference in Munich.
However, Rummenigge is keen for the focus to turn back to the present and away from the future. Guardiola's face will not be seen around Munich until current coach Jupp Heynckes, who has led Bayern to the top of the Bundesliga at the winter break, has completed his job at the club.
Heynckes will retire in the summer and Rummenigge hopes he gets a worthy send-off without the spectre of his successor overshadowing any eventual success. "He (Pep) does not want to disturb the work of Jupp Heynckes and this season's work in any way," he said.
"Pep is staying in New York. We don't want any big show, and Pep doesn't want that either. We would like to give Jupp, a great man, a great send-off."
Heynckes has congratulated Bayern on Guardiola's appointment, a move which Rummenigge emphasised was only taken after the 67-year-old informed club bosses that he would not be extending his own contract beyond the end of the season.
"Jupp told us that he wanted to end his career," said Rummenigge. "That is when we started to deal with the issue intensively and when we began negotiations with Guardiola. He said that he could definitely imagine working in Munich, and we reached an agreement."