Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he would never manage rivals Manchester United even if it is the only offer he had.
Guardiola was on United’s radar to replace Sir Alex Ferguson but had already agreed to join Bayern Munich when the Scot retired in 2013.
The former Barcelona manager said his status at City means the thought of managing United will never occur.
“If I didn’t have any offers, I would be in the Maldives,” Guardiola said ahead of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup first-leg semi-final against United at Old Trafford.
“Maybe not the Maldives because it doesn’t have any golf courses but after training City, I won’t train United, just like I would never train Madrid.
Ferguson famously met Guardiola for dinner in New York in 2012.
At the time, Guardiola was on his sabbatical year and Ferguson was still to decide he would end his own illustrious career just months later.
Ferguson asked to be kept abreast of Guardiola’s plans but the return call never came.
United went on to win the Premier League but have not come close to winning another, whereas Guardiola has two titles – to add to the three Bundesliga crowns he won at Bayern Munich.
Guardiola has three wins at Old Trafford from four visits as City boss, yet recorded only one victory from the same number of meetings at the Etihad Stadium.
In their first meeting this season, United emerged 2-1 victors at the Etihad.
And Guardiola believes, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United are starting to develop the style of play he is looking for.
“I have incredible respect for this club,” he said.
“In every club’s history there are periods when you struggle a bit. But they will be back. Sooner or later they will be in the positions to fight for the Premier League title.”