Barcelona hit back in Guardiola row

The Liga champions have dismissed their former coach's accusations that they have used Tito Vilanova's health problems to discredit the current Bayern boss
Barcelona have insisted that they never used Tito Vilanova's illness to attack Pep Guardiola in the wake of the Bayern Munich coach's outburst on Thursday.

The 42-year-old launched a scathing attack on Barca president Sandro Rosell at a press conference this week, accusing him of using Vilanova's health problems as a means of painting him "in a negative light."

Nevertheless, the Catalans have quickly hit back at the current Bayern coach via Jordi Cardoner, vice-president of the club’s Area Social.

"We have never used Tito's illness for anything," Cardoner was quoted as saying by Sport.

The relationship between Guardiola and Barcelona could turn even more sour if the Bayern coach succeeds in luring Thiago Alcantara away from his former club.

Guardiola admitted on Thursday that he is keen to bring the 22-year-old to the Bundesliga and Bayern are ready to meet the Spain international's €18 million buy-out clause, although they face stiff competition for his signature from Manchester United.

Thiago has a contract with Barcelona until the summer of 2015, but the failure to participate for a stipulated amount of minutes in 2012-13 has seen his exit clause plummet from €90 million to an attractive €18m.

However, his minimum fee release clause returns to €90m on August 1.