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Pep Guardiola heading back to Barcelona for semi-final

Pep Guardiola is looking forward to returning home after the Champions League semi-final draw pitted Bayern Munich against Barcelona.

There was an audible gasp at Uefa's headquarters in Nyon when the Spaniard's current side were drawn against the club with whom he achieved so much as a player and manager.

Guardiola's four-season spell at the Barca helm yielded 14 trophies, including two triumphs in the Champions League - something he will now look to deny them.

The eyes of the footballing world will be trained on the Nou Camp on May 6, when he leads Bayern out for the first leg of a tie which will decide who progresses to the Berlin finale.

"I knew it would happen sooner or later," Guardiola said.

"It's my first return to Barcelona, my home. I was there as player, I was there as coach.

"Of course it is special for me, for Thiago (Alcantara, who also left Barca for Bayern), for my staff. I am very happy that I can experience this. It is a nice game, but not easy. Believe me, Barcelona are the strongest!

"I'm happy for Luis Enrique. He's a great coach, a great guy, a great man. We will definitely try to play the final in our capital."

As if Guardiola's return was not exciting enough, the draw opens up the possibility of a first Barcelona v Real Madrid final. Carlo Ancelotti's side overcame city rivals Atletico to secure a fifth successive semi-final appearance, where Juventus will look to halt their quest to become the first side to retain the Champions League.

Belfast Telegraph


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