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26 April 2012 @ 07:21 pm
LET THE WILD SPECULATION BEGIN!  

Guardiola to quit Barcelona

Boss set to leave the club in the summer

Sky Sports sources understand that Pep Guardiola has told Barcelona he will leave the club at the end of the season.

The Barcelona boss has guided the Catalan giants to two UEFA Champions League titles in his four seasons with the club as well as a host of other trophies.

But the former Barca star's future has been a source of constant speculation for months and the 41-year-old is understood to have finally confirmed he intends to bring his time at the club to an end.

A joint press conference will be held by Guardiola and Barcelona president Sandro Rosell on Friday morning at 11am.

Rosell, who has met with Guardiola at length in the last 24 hours, remains hopeful that he may yet have a change of heart and opt to remain at the helm.


The decision follows Barcelona's sensational exit from the Champions League at the hands of Chelsea in Tuesday's semi-final.

Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Guillem Balague believes Guardiola could be planning to try his luck as a manager in the Premier League before long.

Balague told Sky Sports: "He has the urge to coach in another place. He wants to come to the Premier League.


"He couldn't make it here as a player. He was close to joining Wigan at one point I believe. Manchester United wanted him at some point, Liverpool and Spurs, but it didn't happen.

"And as a manager he wants to prove himself in the Premier League."

Guardiola's potential arrival in England would raise the possibility of some of Barcelona's famous players linking up with him in the Premier League.

Fresh voice


And while Balague does not rule out the prospect, he believes a fresh voice may be what his current players need.

Asked about the chance of Barca's superstars coming to England, Balague said: "It's a good point because they are very close to him; they've grown to be better players with him.

"But at the same time, four years with the same manager, seeing the same face, you wonder if that is one of the reasons Guardiola, if he decides to leave, will leave."

And Balague notes there has already been speculation as to who will replace Guardiola as Barcelona manager next season.

"We have got four names that have been mentioned," he added. "Four names that are very much liked by president Sandro Rosell and the director of football Andoni Zubizarreta."

The four managers that have been earmarked are believed to include Athletic Bilbao's maverick Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa and ex-Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. (Pep to Chelsea, AVB to Barca!)

The two names making up the list of candidates are both former Barcelona players - France boss Laurent Blanc and Ernesto Valverde, who quit as Olympiakos manager last week.

A further possibility could be another former team-mate of Guardiola's, Roma boss Luis Enrique.


The 41-year-old spent eight years with the club as a player and three years coaching the B team before leaving for Italy last summer.

The options are believed to have already been lined up as a contingency plan should Guardiola decide upon a sabbatical.

Exhaustion

Balague is also keen to rubbish suggestion this is a knee-jerk reaction to Barcelona's Champions League defeat to Chelsea in midweek.

He added: "Let me tell you a little story because I have been writing the biography of Guardiola. For six months he has been thinking of leaving.

"He had had it at the back of his mind and he uses it a bit as a mechanism because if he thinks he is going to stay another four years at Barcelona that would kill him because of the exhaustion of how he works; the amount of hours he puts in.

"This is not a decision just based on results or players that don't want him anymore or problems in the changing room. It just comes to the point where he tells the chairman he just cannot continue.

"The question is, would that blank cheque - the possibility to do anything he wanted at Barcelona - change his mind? I don't know. We will certainly know tomorrow (Friday's press conference)."

With Guardiola's spell in charge set to come to an end, thoughts turn to where he fits in among the pantheon of great coaches in Barcelona's history.

Balague believes Guardiola's achievements cannot be measured in terms of mere trophies, despite there being 13 of them during his time at the helm and the possibility of a 14th next month if Barca beat Athletic in the Copa del Rey final.

"He would say that Johan Cruyff was a bigger manager than him because not only has he won consecutive league titles, one European Cup and one final of another European Cup, It's just the fact that Johan Cruyff changed the mentality of the club.

"But it is certain that he has taken the club to another level - a coach beyond titles. The style in which he has done it, the way he has made Messi the player that he is.

"It's just now you can see, talk to Brendan Rodgers, talk to Roberto Martinez, the influence of Pep Guardiola goes well beyond Barcelona."

(Sky Sports)

Just.... WHAT. I don't follow Barcelona closely by any stretch of the imagination, so maybe all this stuff was known to Cules, but... what.
 
 
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( 98 comments — Leave a comment )
Laurenblackjedii on April 26th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
oooooooooooo

wait did someone guess Pep for Chelsea at the Duck Drawing?
Susie Carmichaelsumrndmgrl on April 27th, 2012 12:07 am (UTC)
#AVBtoBarca lolz
the idle blue ronin ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶: fatal attractionsmea_chan on April 27th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)
#RafaBeniteztoBarca lolz
(no subject) - ananasonastick on April 27th, 2012 11:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - uniqlos on April 27th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
bleeding_dry: puyibleeding_dry on April 27th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
"Just.... WHAT. I don't follow Barcelona closely by any stretch of the imagination, so maybe all this stuff was known to Cules, but... what."

That Pep has been considering whether to stay or not in the club? Yep, it's been known since the end of last year.
xue: kennyrapsukha4 on April 27th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC)
It's been coming for a while now.

It will be sad to see him leave. It's like the end of an era. I wonder how Barca and he will do without each other.
flywoman: futbolflywoman on April 27th, 2012 12:47 am (UTC)
Yet another heartbreak to cap off a sucktastic week for Barcelona fans.

I don't know what all this stuff is about the EPL. My understanding is that he's exhausted and wants to take sabbatical for a year and consider his options. He's been hinting at it pretty much all season.

xue: kennyrapsukha4 on April 27th, 2012 01:15 am (UTC)
BTW what's with the rumor of Alves to Anzhi? Would he really go there? Seems ridiculous at this point of his career.
Mayhem Parvaraincitygirl on April 27th, 2012 02:09 am (UTC)
I *know*! He's only 28, for Pete's sake.
(no subject) - jenny_jenkins on April 27th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
interplanetary megastellar hydrostaticrunandtelldat on April 27th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
Manchester United wanted him at some point

Is Fergie retiring or something?
Rachelverses on April 27th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
lol no, these people are stupid
(no subject) - effingusernames on April 27th, 2012 03:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - runandtelldat on April 27th, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
le_grapefruitle_grapefruit on April 27th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
After all the speculation about Fergie's departure (not happening) I remember reading Guardiola stated he doesn't want to leave Barcelona, he merely wants a break from the football world. I guess the standards he set burden him a lot. Barcelona has achieved so much in so little time, I imagine there has to be constant pressure to replicate the success on a yearly basis. That is, however, even for a club of Barcelona's quality, quite unachievable. I mean they have a good shot of winning Copa del Rey, they got to semis of CL, and are 2nd in La Liga. The term "disaster season" with such good results can only apply to Barca and people's expectations of them.
Xenaeffingusernames on April 27th, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
Everything you said.
(no subject) - callme_morbid on April 28th, 2012 05:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lady_teazle: Hugh Laurielady_teazle on April 27th, 2012 03:11 am (UTC)
Yup, saw this earlier today. I'm very sad, but I understand. The man looks absolutely wiped out, the team is suffering... he needs a break. That said, I have no clue who Barca could bring in.

/got to sleep; off to bed
the demand for me is perfectly inelasticpretzel_knots on April 27th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
"Rosell, who has met with Guardiola at length in the last 24 hours, remains hopeful that he may yet have a change of heart and opt to remain at the helm."
sounds like some labour union negotiation.

Defs curious as to who their next manager is though and whether if he's going to live up to the high standard Pep has created.
scavenger of human miserypiratesswoop on April 27th, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)
lbr no one could live up to the high standard pep nutured (i would hesitate to say he created because a lot of it is down to the team more than him as a manager, but the players aren't getting any younger)

its like once del bosque leaves the NT, whoever comes in after him will be expected to replicate the success
(no subject) - verses on April 27th, 2012 04:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lady_teazle on April 27th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - verses on April 27th, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sukha4 on April 27th, 2012 04:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
Rachelverses on April 27th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
Inevitable. I knew it was a matter of time when he cracked and swore over Mou at that presser last season. It's the pressure.
Jenny Jenkins: Rico Guapo y Buenojenny_jenkins on April 27th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
A large number of sports pages are making the same point.

Also: his chronic and inexplicable back-trouble. Looking back that was an obvious sign of a mental strain manifesting itself in physical symptoms.
(no subject) - lady_teazle on April 27th, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jenny_jenkins on April 27th, 2012 09:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Eugeniakenitafunk on April 27th, 2012 04:22 am (UTC)
so, if Pep is leaving Barcelona ( according to sport,es, he is) who is going to be Barca's manager? Bielsa?
and, what is for me more intriguing, where's Pep going?!
lady_teazle: Hugh Laurielady_teazle on April 27th, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
Tito Vilanova, his assistant.
connorblondconnorblond on April 27th, 2012 06:10 am (UTC)
I think Pep needs a break, bad. He's what? 41? For God's sake, he looks ancient and wiped out. Vacation for a year would be great.
marsykemarsyke on April 27th, 2012 11:12 am (UTC)
yeah, he looks 15 years older than when he started in Barcelona 4 years ago.
(no subject) - effingusernames on April 27th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Rain: [alan rickman] sex voicestars2small2use on April 27th, 2012 07:17 am (UTC)
We (Culés) all saw this coming, but it still makes me hella sad. Think I'm gonna cry, actually. (Yup, there you go.)
julitakvetch_kvetch on April 27th, 2012 07:37 am (UTC)
SOMEONE CALL ZLATAN FOR HIS THOUGHTS STAT
Xenaeffingusernames on April 27th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
i think zlatan's over it..i mean hasn't punched Pep like he said he would so..:P
xue: kennyrapsukha4 on April 27th, 2012 08:34 am (UTC)
Guillem Balague ‏ @GuillemBalague Close
FCB fans, prepare yourselves for the end of an era ( Pep telling his players now). Next? A sabbatical for Guardiola. Soon in @SkySportsnews
x_butterfly_xx_butterfly19_x on April 27th, 2012 09:29 am (UTC)
What?

Well, good luck to him if he feels he needs a break.
Stef: Jabby Uhlonzilpoodlewhisperer on April 27th, 2012 10:46 am (UTC)
According Goal.com, this has been made official?
marsykemarsyke on April 27th, 2012 11:37 am (UTC)
http://www.fcbarcelona.cat/
press conference is about to start
kalasomakalasoma on April 27th, 2012 11:45 am (UTC)
Thank you for making football a beautiful game. I hope we see him back when he's ready to return.
Jenny: He hit the pass that wasn't therethelichen on April 27th, 2012 11:47 am (UTC)
damn, it's official. I'm really sorry, cules. you've had a shitty week. good luck to him!
slightwaysslightways on April 27th, 2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17855980

Tito Vilanova taking over apparently.

I think the fact that Pep only ever took on a one year rolling contract is quite telling too, perhaps he was never really comfortable in the job? IDK. I suspect cules probably know more about the ins and outs of Barca politics and could elaborate.
lady_teazle: Hugh Laurielady_teazle on April 27th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
A lot of cynics said that he'd never do it, never quit, but looking at photos of him this year, I could see it coming. He just can't take the pressure any longer, so good for him. Very smart to just leave it all behind for a while.

That said, I'm thoroughly dismayed. :p
(no subject) - effingusernames on April 27th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lady_teazle on April 27th, 2012 04:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - effingusernames on April 27th, 2012 05:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - effingusernames on April 27th, 2012 03:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - callme_morbid on April 28th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Zilch: FCB: Puyi MAINrobinsparkle on April 27th, 2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
Knew this was coming for a while, but glad Tito is taking his place
yukimeru: futebol: Brazil / kaká does not want ityukimeru on April 27th, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
Is it strange that I'm a madridista and I'm feeling sad for these news?
I don't know, he's been there since I started watching European football and now he's no more and... I don't like when things change? I don't know :( I just have a lot of feelings. It will be weird not having him there to hate on (!!).

But it's shocking how tired and old he looks compared to when he first signed for Barcelona's coach. Enjoy some vacays, Pep! You deserve it.
Xenaeffingusernames on April 27th, 2012 03:46 pm (UTC)
idk, i was amused watching the Bayern RM game, i still chuckle when i think about it now, but still felt a bit sad seeing the players' heart broken faces and Mou on his knees..if Mou were on his knees at the camp nou i probably would be giggling, but at the time, after the Barcelona losses and thinking of rumours of impending Pep departure, idk, you start feeling empathic, you know? Here are two immense coaches from two rival clubs, who each suffered a similar blow within two days (Barca hit harder on the whole due to the domestic league title), who each worked tirelessly throughout the season to get this far, only to be eliminated. I think loving your club and your coach and going through the wins and losses and eliminations..at the end, somehow makes you appreciate your rivals too.
(no subject) - sillypiglets2 on April 27th, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spider_orchid on April 27th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sillypiglets2 on April 27th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spider_orchid on April 27th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sillypiglets2 on April 27th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spider_orchid on April 27th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sillypiglets2 on April 27th, 2012 11:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - yukimeru on April 27th, 2012 03:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - effingusernames on April 27th, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spain_fanatic79 on April 27th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lady_teazle on April 27th, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jenny_jenkins on April 27th, 2012 06:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lady_teazle on April 27th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - purpledisco on April 27th, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spain_fanatic79 on April 27th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Laura: zzwntguingel on April 27th, 2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
In my little Raul-obsessed mind, Pep is totally going to use his sabbatical to hang out with Raul, who is planning to go a club where he'll have loads more free time. (Heck, word is that Raul's going to Pep's old club in Qatar. Coaching a Qatari club would be like a break from football, right? I mean... at least he'd be out of the swirling stress and media vortex that is European football...)

But wrenching myself away from the orgasmic delight I would experience if Pep coached Raul right now, good for Pep for doing what he needs to do and having the courage to take care of himself. It's clear he's been considering this move for a while, and I'm sure it's breaking his heart to leave after a rocky season but I'm also sure he realizes that him forcing himself to stay when his heart isn't in it would not be what's best for the club. I would not be surprised if he returns to Barca at some point in the future - or even coaches Spain.
spain_fanatic79spain_fanatic79 on April 27th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
Uhm, YES PLEASE. This must happen.
( 98 comments — Leave a comment )
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