Friday, April 27, 2012


Pep Guardiola has ended almost 30 years association with Barcelona by telling his players that this season will be his last. 

The Spaniard, who has overseen the team's rise into one of the greatest club sides of all time, will end his four-year managerial stint having seen them slip below Real Madrid domestically, and also lose their hold on the Champions League.

Guardiola will become one of world football's most sought after coaches - with Chelsea leading the way - but is understood to be considering taking a year out of the game.

Following Barcelona’s stunning defeat by Chelsea on Tuesday and the impending coronation of Real as champions of Spain, 41-year-old Guardiola informed the club of his decision, which is thought to be that he feels both he and the players would benefit from a change.

A press conference will be held later in the day

Guardiola, who is not under consideration for any role with England, spent three hours at the home of Barcelona president Sandro Rosell on Thursday and was told he would have funds to strengthen his side this summer. 

Yet, rather than agree to another year at the Nou Camp, Guardiola informed Rosell of his reservations and spent the rest of the day with his family. He passed his decision to the president

Guardiola has had concerns this season that his relationship with some players has changed and certain standards are not being upheld. He believes his departure would prompt a fresh approach, benefiting the club and squad.

Guardiola, who was born and raised in Santpedor, a town in central Catalonia, first joined Barcelona in 1983, where he trained until his breakthrough in 1990.

He remained until 2001 and returned to manager Barca B in 2007 before making a step into the top job four years ago.

Since taking over from Frank Rijkaard, Guardiola has led Barca to three La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, three Spanish Super cups, one Copa del Rey - with a final to come next month - two World Club Cups and two UEFA Super Cups, a total of 13.

Guardiola led Barca to the title in his first season in charge after masterminding a squad overhaul which saw the likes of Ronaldinho and Deco shipped out and a greater emphasis placed on youth. The results were immediate.
Not only did Barca win the league - the highlight being a 6-2 thrashing of Madrid at the Bernabeu - but they also claimed the Copa del Rey and Champions League crowns.

The 2009/10 campaign kicked off with further success in the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA World Club Cup as Barca became the first club side to claim six major trophies in one calendar year.

Good luck to Guardiola

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