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Football: Guardiola key to Thiago's Bayern move


Bayern Munich's latest signing Thiago Alcantara has revealed that the chance to work again with former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was one of his main reasons for joining the European champions.

The 22-year-old completed his transfer from Barcelona to Munich on Monday, having signed a four-year deal with an initial fee of 20 million euros ($26 million), with an extra five million euros from a future friendly between Bayern and Barcelona.

Thiago, the son of Brazil's midfielder Mazinho who was part of the Selecao which won the 1994 World Cup, was given his Barcelona debut by Guardiola, who won 14 titles in four years at the Camp Nou.

"There aren't many coaches in the world with his ability. He was definitely one of the important reasons for me making the move to Munich," Thiago said of Bayern's new coach Guardiola after his arrival in the Bavarian capital.

"On the one hand, there's the history of the club, which has been one of the best in the world for many years.

"On top of that, this team plays very attractive football. And I believe the arrival of Pep Guardiola will provide an additional boost.

"We've known each other for a long time and he's a coach who has placed great faith in me.

"I'm a huge fan of the way he likes football to be played."

The Spaniard has the chance to face his former club in the next week: Bayern host Barcelona at Munich's Allianz Arena on July 24 in a pre-season friendly.

Thiago is Bayern's second key addition to their midfield after Germany star Mario Goetze's arrival from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund and means Guardiola faces some tough choices.

Having changed Bayern's system from the 4-2-3-1 formation when they won the treble of European, league and cup titles last season, Guardiola has introduced a 4-1-4-1 pattern.

Thiago will be competing with Goetze, Holland's Arjen Robben, France's Franck Ribery, Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller and Swiss wing Xherdan Shaqiri amongst the stars vying for places in the midfield.

Thiago caught the eye as he captained Spain to their victory at last month's Under-21 European Championship in Israel when he scored a first-half hat-trick in the 4-2 win over Italy in the final.