Soccer

Hoeness: Heynckes would have liked one more year

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP)

Jupp Heynckes would have liked to stay another year as coach of Bayern Munich but cleared the way for Pep Guardiola to be hired for next season, club president Uli Hoeness told ZDF television.

Later Friday, Heynckes said he had not yet decided whether to retire and confirmed he offered to stay on ''if Bayern could not find an adequate replacement.''

Bayern announced a three-year deal with Guardiola on Wednesday and said at the time the 67-year-old Heynckes decided to retire at the end of the season, when his contract expires.

''I think he would have liked, of course, to stay another year,'' Hoeness said. ''One has the feeling that if we had put on enough pressure, he would have surely given in.

''We are very grateful that he made it possible for us (to hire Guardiola) and that he did not make a scene.''

Bayern had to make the move for Guardiola when the opportunity presented itself, Hoeness said. ''Who knows when that would have been possible again?''

Guardiola, who guided Barcelona to 14 titles in four seasons, is on a one-year break and will start his job in Bayern on July 1.

In its initial announcement on Wednesday, Bayern said Heynckes told the club before Christmas that he was leaning toward retirement at the end of the season and made his decision official after the holiday.

Heynckes said on Friday he still had not made up his mind about his future.

''It is not true that I said I would end my career. I would like to announce my own decision. And we still have half a year. I will decide myself when I retire,'' Heynckes said.

At the same time, he congratulated Guardiola for choosing Bayern.

''He will find here the best European club after Barcelona,'' Heynckes said.

Bayern is nine points ahead in the Bundesliga and is still in the Champions League and the German Cup. The Bundesliga resumes this weekend and Bayern hosts last-place Greuther Fuerth on Saturday.

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