LONDON (AFP) – Pep Guardiola’s former manager Juanma Lillo (pic below) has been reunited with the Catalan as Manchester City’s new assistant boss, the club confirmed on Tuesday.
Lillo, 54, left his post as coach of Qingdao Huanghai last week with the Chinese side claiming he was returning to Spain to look after his “seriously ill” mother.
However, it quickly emerged that Lillo was in line to replace Mikel Arteta, who took charge of Arsenal last December, as ‘Guardiola’s number two’.
“I am delighted to have joined Manchester City’s coaching staff,” Lillo said in a City statement.
“My relationship with Pep goes back many years and I am thrilled to be joining him as part of this exciting team.
“Manchester City has enjoyed much success over recent seasons and played a brand of beautiful football we have come to expect from this club and its manager.”
Lillo and Guardiola first teamed up at Mexican side Dorados at the end of Guardiola’s playing career in 2006.
In a nomadic coaching career, Lillo has also managed sides in Colombia and Japan, but spent most of his time with a series of clubs in Spain.
According to The New York Times in 2016, Lillo described the City manager as “one of the most important people in my life, like a son to me”.
City’s Director of Football Txiki Begiristain added, “We are delighted to welcome Juanma to Manchester City.
“His vast experience working across three continents and with some of the most famous names in world football will be an invaluable asset to Pep and his team.
“We look forward to him playing a vital role as we return to football.”