Bayern Munich's honorary president Franz Beckenbauer believes that Pep Guardiola will never need a long contract and hopes that the Catalan will stay at the club beyond 2016, but admits "a coach of his calibre will leave whenever he wants to leave."
Guardiola, 44, joined Bayern in the summer of 2013. Only 18 months on -- following a domestic double in his first season in charge, and an 11-point lead in the Bundesliga just 17 games into his second year -- the question whether Guardiola will stay at Bayern beyond 2016, or even leave the club this summer made the headlines in Germany this week.
At the weekend, during an annual visit to one of the Bayern fan clubs, the coach spoke of his time at Bayern in the past tense, saying that "it has been a great challenge" and that he "has had a super time and was very happy."
This led Bild and Suddeutsche to suggest that Guardiola could be on his way out in the summer. But, speaking to kicker, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that this will not be the case, and he also announced that talks over a new contract have been pushed back into the second half of 2015.
In his weekly column for Bild, Beckenbauer has now said that he hopes that "Guardiola will stay for 10 years."
Beckenbauer continued: "It will be hard to find better conditions for him at another club. He's only 44 and still has time to take over another club at a later stage. During Bayern's Christmas party I had the feeling that Pep and his family feel very much at home.
"But it's also clear: Pep Guardiola basically does not need a contract. A coach of his calibre will leave whenever he wants to leave."
Meanwhile, Robert Lewandowski has said that he never feared he would be another central attacker to fail the Guardiola test after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Mandzukic were forced out of the Catalan coach's teams at Barcelona and Bayern respectively.
"I know exactly what Pep wants from me," the 26-year-old Poland international said. "He does not solely see me as a central attacker, but as complete attacker, who also drifts to the wings and works to the back.
"It was clear to me that he will not only look at my goals. I am also responsible for the undeclared work. That's work which nobody sees, and nobody really takes note of.
"I sometimes have two, three opponents against me, and thus spaces for Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery or Thomas Muller open. And they can score. There are no stats for that."