FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu praised former manager Pep Guardiola during an interview published in German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt on Saturday.

Despite his Bayern Munich side being knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals earlier this week, for the third season running, Bartomeu believes Guardiola should be regarded as a “genius”.

“I admire him as a manager and he has done a great job at Bayern Munich. To reach the semifinals of the Champions League three times is very difficult. With Barca he also always reached the semis, and twice we won it. This says a lot about his work. I am sure he will change a lot of things in Manchester (City) too.”

Asked if he believes that Guardiola will target some of Barca’s players when he takes up the reigns at Manchester City, Bartomeu responded:

“We don’t have any fear at all. Our players are very happy to be here. I am delighted for Txiki Begiristain who was with us for many years. He and Guardiola will form a strong duo.”

The Premier League, La Liga’s biggest rival

“La Liga is the strongest league in the world, with very valuable teams and players, even though the Premier League generates more revenue,” said Bartomeu.

Regarding the German Bundesliga, the president said “Bayern are one of the best teams in the world, and I think Borussia Dortmund are in the top 12 strongest in Europe. In terms of organization, management and economy, German teams are an example”.

Meeting with Hamburg president

During his visit, Bartomeu also met with Hamburg president Jens Meier and director general Dietmar Belersdorf.

Josep Maria Bartomeu, with Hamburg Director General, Dietmar Belersdorfer, and their president, Jens Meler / HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT

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