Pep Guardiola says it will always be special to return to Barcelona after Manchester City were drawn in the same Champions League group as the Spanish giants.
Guardiola admits he has a unique bond with the club he joined as a 13-year-old before breaking into the first team six years later and going onto win six La Liga titles as well as the European Cup.
He then became the first-team coach in 2008 and oversaw a period of unprecedented success winning three more Spanish titles and two Champions League trophies in four years.
His new club, who were also drawn with German club Borussia Monchengladbach and Scottish champions Celtic, will play in the Camp Nou on Nov. 1.
And Guardiola is looking to going back although he will be hoping for a better result than his first return in with Bayern Munich in 2015 when the Bundesliga champions were beaten 3-0 in a Champions League semifinal.
“I cannot deny that it is something special for me,” he told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with West Ham. “I grew up in Catalonia, at 13 years old I went there to play in the academy and I was promoted to a professional player, the trainer, so I spent most of my life there.
“I know the people there, I know the club, the media, some of the players, most of the players are still there, so the emotion is there.
“It happened last season with Bayern Munich, it happened this year, and if I continue coaching at the high level, at the big clubs, and we are lucky to arrive in the Champions League, that is going to happen more times.
“The first time is, ‘Wow, it’s the first time,’ the second time is the second time. In the future it will be maybe normal.
“Barcelona is always there and trying to achieve, and Manchester City will always be there, that is our target.”
Guardiola also believes the clash will be an early test for his side to see how far they have progressed since he took charge.
“They will check our level ,” he added. “There isn’t a better team to check our current level as a team. But of course it’s just the beginning we still need some time.
“But we have to put up with that because it’s the draw and we will have to face it.”
The Spaniard believes City have been handed a tough draw and warned his side they must be wary of both Monchengladbach and Celtic.
“I know quite well Barcelona, I know quite well Borussia Monchengladbach, I have a lot of respect for Glasgow Celtic, you know better than me right now with a coach Brendan Rodgers with a lot of experienced in the past at Liverpool,” he said.
“It’s a tough group, like all the groups in the Champions League today. Now it’s so complicated from the beginning, of course.
“In phase one, no one is the best team in the world.”