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Pep Guardiola denies Raphaël Varane rumor, shows confidence in Holger Badstuber

Pep Guardiola addressed the rumors about Raphaël Varane and showed confidence in his defense at the same time.

Alex Grimm/Getty Images

While at his press conference in Qatar on Saturday, Pep Guardiola was asked about a MARCA report that came out a few hours earlier in the day. The Spanish paper released a big front page story stating that Bayern Munich were going to make a big push to sign Real Madrid's Raphaël Varane and that the Bavarians would pay whatever it took to get him.

Why would Bayern do this? According to MARCA, Bayern need to sign Varane to fix defensive problems. Yes, the team that has allowed four goals during the entire Hinrunde needs defensive help. They also speculate that Varane would consider a move away from Madrid, because he's having a hard time cracking the centerback partnership of Sergio Ramos and Pepe.

All of this stems from a dinner that Guardiola had in Munich at Geisels Werneckhof with Jorge Mendes who just happens to be Varane's agent. Mendes is also the agent for Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria, Diego Costa, and many other young (mostly Portuguese) talents.

The Spaniard didn't skip around the question when asked. "No. It's false," he replied. He would expand upon his answer and take a shot at MARCA in the process. "This newspaper has also written that the sports director of Sevilla is coming to replace Matthias Sammer, and Matthias Sammer has extended his contract. MARCA doesn't have my phone number, but perhaps they have the phone number of Jorge Mendes. This is obviously wrong."

Guardiola's strong denial spoke to his confidence in his current corps of centerbacks. Under his stewardship, Jerome Boateng has found the consistency he was missing and is now among the very best centerbacks in the entire world. Dante has slowly regained his form that saw him as an integral part of Bayern's 2012-13 triple winning side. As for Mehdi Benatia, injuries has made his season start-stop so far, but he's coming along quite nicely in the Bayern setup.

However, it's when Guardiola was asked about Holger Badstuber that this confidence really expressed itself. Badstuber has only played four competitive matches since December 1, 2012, and all of those came at the beginning of this season. The injury gods were spiteful that Badstuber had managed to come back from two complete ACL tears to the same knee and conspired against Holger with thigh injury to sideline him once again. His performances were very good in his return, and Guardiola noticed (starting at 3:51).

"I have great faith in the quality of Holger Badstuber. All we have to worry about now in his current situation is that he doesn't sustain another injury. If he's fit, Holger Badstuber is an absolute top player. He showed outstanding performances for Bayern Munich before he sustained his most recent injury in the early season Bundesliga match against Schalke."

Badstuber is engaged in all drills with the club in Qatar and should be prepared to return to the field when Bayern plays the first match of the Rückrunde against VfL Wolfsburg at the end of this month. Badstuber is determined to show the club that their faith in him has not been misplaced. Guardiola is set to reap the benefits of his confidence in his players.

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