London - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has made the startling admission that he hopes Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola will one day succeed him at the Etihad Stadium.
Bayern announced on Sunday that Guardiola will leave the club at the end of the season, with Carlo Ancelotti taking over at the Allianz Arena.
Guardiola, 44, has been strongly linked with City, as well as Manchester United and Chelsea, and Pellegrini feels that the Catalan's arrival at the Etihad would be a sign of the club's progress.
"Pep Guardiola will work here (in England). I don't know if it is next season here (at City) or at another club," Pellegrini said in comments published prior to Bayern's announcement by several British newspapers on Sunday.
"Some day he'll come here. And I hope he will have the option to work at Manchester City.
"I say that because I love this club and I hope, in the future, he can work here also. I am sure he will be very important for the club."
City owner Sheikh Mansour has long coveted Guardiola and has employed Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, both of whom worked with the Catalan during his richly successful tenure as Barcelona coach.
Pellegrini has 18 months to run on his current contract, but he acknowledges that that will count for nothing if City opt to move in another direction.
"My contract showed that the club was happy and that I was happy, but sometimes you can have a contract for six or eight years and, at the end of the season, you don't continue anyway," he said.
Pellegrini, 63, joined City in 2013 and steered the club to a Premier League and League Cup double in his first season.
They finished second to Chelsea last season and are currently third in the table, six points below leaders Leicester City, ahead of Monday's trip to second-place Arsenal.