Pep Guardiola insisted he was “here to win” as he marks his return to Barcelona in Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp.
The 44-year-old, now the Bayern Munich coach, is preparing to go head to head with the club with which he is synonymous for the first time.
Guardiola won 14 titles, including two Champions Leagues, during four golden years in charge at the Nou Camp, where he also enjoyed a glittering playing career.
The Spaniard is now hoping to guide Bayern to similar success and finds Barca, now managed by his former team-mate Luis Enrique, standing in the way of a Champions League final appearance.
But, although he is likely to get a warm welcome, he told a press conference ahead of the first leg of this much-anticipated heavyweight contest: “I am here not as a tribute, but I’m here to do my job, with Bayern Munich to reach the final.
“Barcelona was the most important part in my life. Barcelona was everything, but I’m here to win.”
While the Bayern boss is wary of the threat of three-times world player of the year Lionel Messi, he admitted the Argentina international was “just too good” to be stopped.
He added: “It’s almost impossible to play defensively against Barcelona defence. We have to attack. We need to score in Barcelona.
“There is no defensive system that can stop him. Messi is unstoppable. He is just too good. But we can try (and hope that) he does not come into (possession of) the ball.”