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Jul 24, 2014

Guardiola: 'I tried to get Kroos to stay'

Toni Kroos believes he's made a step up swapping Bayern Munich for Real Madrid, and denies leaving the German champions because of a rift with Pep Guardiola.

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola said he tried to get Toni Kroos, who recently joined Real Madrid, to reconsider and stay with the reigning Bundesliga winners.

- Schaaf: Bayern's summer so far
Bayern bigger than Kroos
Kroos settled on Madrid after final

"It was a great honour to coach him. I wish him and his family all the best, and I want to thank him for what he did at the club last season," Guardiola said at a news conference. "We had a lot of problems at the start, especially in the centre of the pitch, but he was always there when we needed him. He always played. We tried to get him to stay, but I understand. He's young and wants a new challenge. It's his choice and we have to accept that. I hope he's happy in Madrid."

Key European club fixtures

French Ligue 1 -- Aug. 8
FA Community Shield: Manchester City vs. Arsenal -- Aug. 10
German Super Cup: Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich -- Aug. 13
English Premier League -- Aug. 16
Spanish Super Cup: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid -- Aug. 19 and 22
Spanish La Liga/German Bundesliga -- Aug. 23
Italian Serie A -- Aug. 30

Guardiola spoke on a matter of subjects in front of the media on Thursday, including Spain's early exit from the recent World Cup. "The most important thing is that the coach stays on," said the Catalan. "The Spanish Federation have shown sense. Nobody is capable of repeating what this team has done over the past 12 years, but obviously the players are now 12 years older and there needs to be changes."

About the new generation of Spanish players he said: "They have enormous talent and quality. With Del Bosque they'll continue as they were. I always expect the best of Spain, but in these kinds of tournaments two bad games can spell the end. But they have it all. They've won everything."

Guardiola warned fans not to expect champagne football from his side at the start of the season, but he has no doubt they will hit their stride, eventually.

He said he will have his entire squad in training only a few weeks before their first official appointment of the season, in the German Super Cup against Borussia Dortmund.

"But that's perfectly normal," said the 43-year-old, who picked up four trophies in his first season in the Bayern dugout, and expects more to follow at the end of the next 10 months of hard work. "I know the Bundesliga, I know the club and I know my players better now, so I'm no longer so nervous.

 "We're going to have to take things step by step. We're not going to reach our absolute best in the first two months, but I'm going to talk to my players and there are not going to be any excuses. We've just got to adapt to the situation. It's not ideal, but you're not going to hear any complaining."

Guardiola is no stranger to such a situation having had even less time with his Barcelona team following the 2010 World Cup.

"Two days after we started preparation, we already had the Super Cup," he said. "We lost that and our first game of the season."

Come the end of the season, though, Barca were lifting both the Primera Division and Champions League trophies aloft.

Bayern will have to try to emulate that achievement without Kroos. He will not be replaced, however, with Guardiola saying he is only looking to add a goalkeeper to his squad.

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