Guardiola takes Rijkaard's job at Barça

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The Independent Online

Frank Rijkaard will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, as revealed in Tuesday's Independent, leaving a former club captain, Pep Guardiola, to take over as coach, the club president Joan Laporta announced yesterday. The former Netherlands international, whose contract was due to run for another year, took charge of Barça in 2003 and led them to consecutive titles and victory in the Champions League in 2006. However, his side has failed to win any silverware for the past two seasons and suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat by their arch-rivals Real Madrid on Wednesday night.

That defeat, combined with Villarreal's victory over Recreativo Huelva, means the Catalan side will miss out on automatic qualification for the Champions League and cannot finish any higher than third in La Liga – a major embarrassment for a club of Barcelona's stature.

"The cycle is finished because the results haven't gone our way," Laporta said. "The situation was very disappointing last season. We haven't been able to correct the errors that were committed then and we have decided that Frank should be relieved of his post at the end of the season."

Guardiola, the current coach of Barcelona's reserve side, will officially take over from Rijkaard on 30 June.

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