Pep Guardiola confirms decision to leave Barcelona

 

Pep Guardiola has confirmed he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

At a press conference this lunchtime the announcement that had been expected was made. Barcelona have also been swift to appoint his successor, naming Guardiola's assistant Tito Vilanova as the new manager.

Club president Sandro Rosell told the room: "We have called you today to announce that Pep Guardiola will not continue in charge of the team next season.

"Thank you Pep for all the happiness you have brought us and for bringing a model of football that can never be questioned." He went on to describe the departing coach as "the best manager in the history of the club."

The Spaniard informed Rosell he would not be renewing his contract yesterday in what was a three-hour meeting. The 41-year-old spoke with his players at their training ground this morning.

Addressing the media, Guardiola explained that the decision to leave the reigning European champions was not a straight forward one.

"I want you to understand that this is not a simple decision for me," he said.

"At the beginning of December I announced to the chairman that I was seeing the end of my era at Barcelona. Obviously we couldn't say that publicly.

"Now we are out of the two main competitions it is a good time to announce this. I did not want to continue with the confusion. The reason is simple: four years is enough. The new coach will give things that I am unable to give any more. To be in front of the media every three days for four years is very demanding."

He went on to praise his players, some of whom were in attendance at the press conference, including Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets.

"I want to thank my players who are responsible for everything that has happened here. It has been a great pleasure to train them. I have tried to do my job with a lot of passion."

Speculation about Guardiola's future has been rumbling all season, with the former Barca player noncommittal over his plans to renew his rolling contract. That speculation reached a crescendo these past few days following defeats to Chelsea and Real Madrid.

On Tuesday they were knocked out of the Champions League by the Londoners, losing 3-2 on aggregate and with it relinquishing their crown as European champions.

They also gave away their La Liga title to bitter rivals Real, losing 2-1 at the Nou Camp on Saturday.

Just hours after the European exit at the hands of Chelsea, Guardiola was holding meetings with the club's hierarchy. It is believed he was offered a blank cheque book to sign players and told he would be given total control of club decisions but the offer couldn't dissuade Guardiola from feeling he had endured enough after stepping up from the Barca B team in 2008.

"When I was appointed, I started jumping like a little kid. To be able to take charge of the 'A' team was unbelievable. Time has taken its toll and I rise each day and don't feel the same. I am going with the understanding that I have done my duty," he said today.

The former Barcelona and Spain midfielder has enjoyed a hugely successful stint with the Catalan club winning 13 trophies in his four seasons in charge, whilst playing a passing style of football that has been widely acclaimed as the best in the world.

Among his haul of trophies are two Champions League crowns, three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, three Supercopas, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.

Explaining the decision to appoint Guardiola's assistant, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said: "We've always said that if the team needs players, we look at home first [Barca B]. What do we have here at home? Tito.

"We chose Tito because he represents the idea and the image. He has commitment and personality."

Come the end of the season, Guardiola can expect an approach from Chelsea. Owner Roman Abramovich is understood to be a firm admirer and not likely to pass up this opportunity to try and lure the Spaniard to Stamford Bridge. The west London outfit have already contacted his agent, Josep Maria Orobitg, although they may struggle to bring him to London, with Guardiola hinting at some time out of the game.

"The demands have been great and I have not been able to rest much. I have to recover and the only way I can do that is by distancing myself."

Gaurdiola also fired a warning that his departure does not signal the end of the dominance of the Catalan club, and endorsed his successor Vilanova.

"This club has a powerful force. It is unstoppable. Whoever will replace me will be able to take it on and do it marvellously.

"I think the club has taken the best decision possible.

"He is more than capable. The players know him. He will make few changes. He will give the club and these players something that I thought I could no longer give.

The press conference broke up with Guardiola being applauded by those in attendance, with some of the players in tears.

Follow Simon Rice on Twitter @simonrice

Related links...

Pep Guardiola brings the curtain down at Barcelona

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss