"Guten nacht." So began the Spanish radio show Al Primer Toque at midnight, prime time for the country's daily digest of sports news and debate. At around the same time, newspapers everywhere were putting the finishing touches to their front pages. Pep Guardiola was on all of them. "PEPinazo", ran the headline on the cover of Marca – "Bang!" His decision to join Bayern Munich was everywhere and opened news bulletins. Not the sports section, the news.
It is not quite unanimous, but nearly. One famously controversial columnist calls it a "coward's" choice, insisting: "Pep has run away from the challenge, run away from Mou and taken the easy option. The Germany league is a lesser league and Pep will win without getting off the team bus." Virtually everywhere else, he has been praised.
There is a kind of pride in him heading to Germany, in a Spaniard being the centre of international attention. Bild called it "the sensation of the year, the biggest coup of all time." Süddeutsche Zeitung said that Germany had reached a "pinnacle": this was a message to the whole world. Even Borussia Dortmund congratulated Bayern Munich on a signing that will raise the level of the entire German league.
Their remarks were proudly reproduced back home. Marca cheers: "Commotion all over the world." The Spanish media is largely happy too at Guardiola taking a decision that's so very Guardiola. One in which, as one sub-headline put it: "He prioritises football above all else", even if the Catalan paper Sport is focused on the money and, as ever, on the conflict. "Pep," its cover says, "overtakes Mourinho and becomes one of the best paid".
"Guardiola chooses Bayern over the noise of England," says El País. Its analysis of the decision, written by two of the journalists who know best the former Barcelona manager, focuses on his fascination with the Bundesliga. Marca, Madrid-based and largely Madrid-oriented, gives over seven pages to the signing. El Mundo Deportivo calls him the Kaiser, noting: "Herr Guardiola is off to Germany."
That was once a familiar path, but one that's been largely forgotten: in the 1960s and 70s, thousands of Spaniards left the country to work in Germany. A film from 1971 tells the story of one of them. It is called Come to Germany, Pepe. The jokes have been inevitable; the title provides the headline for the cover of the sports daily AS.
In the film, Ángelito returns to Spain and tells his friend Pepe that Germany is wonderful. When he gets there, Pepe find that it is not quite what he was sold. Guardiola should not have the same problem, the Spanish media says. Fans agree. A poll on Sports website asks: "Was it the right decision?" 75% say yes. "Guardiola had the chance to choose and he chose well," writes Alfredo Relaño. Santi Segurola calls it "the perfect decision (for both parties)".
He continues: "Bayern Munich [are] a real club and not that artificial product all too common in modern football. It would have been difficult for him to have felt comfortable with the new owners of English football. Pep is from another culture."