Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Monday he knew for some time that coach Pep Guardiola would leave the German giants at the end of the season.
Rummenigge said he first had an idea in late September when he heard "nuanced comments", but said "we did not let on and wanted to give him time to decide without hurry".
"At the Christmas party two weeks ago he came to me," Rummenigge told mass-circulation newspaper Bild daily.
"He told me that he was looking for a new challenge and almost apologised. It was clearly difficult for him.
"I'm not disappointed in him."
Guardiola, 44, jetted home to Spain on Sunday for Christmas, leaving Bayern to officially announce he would not extend his three-year contract.
He will be succeeded by the Italian Carlo Ancelotti, 56, while Guardiola has been heavily linked to Manchester City.
Rummenigge said he had an idea about the Spaniard's next destination.
"I think I know where he is going," he told Bild. "But I want to leave the announcement to him or his new employer."
Rummenigge said he had complete confidence in the new coach.
"Carlo Ancelotti has been successful everywhere," he said. "He has won the Champions League three times. That is still a record, and of course he has all the qualities. He suits us, as simple as that."
He said it hadn't been easy to snag the former Real Madrid coach as "half of Europe was after him".