Rijkaard ready for management return

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The Independent Football

Former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has confirmed he is ready and willing to return to management.

The Dutch coach has spent 10 months out of the game following his departure from the Camp Nou last summer.

During his time out, Rijkaard has been linked with a host of jobs including Ajax, Manchester City, Chelsea and AC Milan, and the Champions League-winning coach is now ready to return to the cut and thrust of management.

"The papers are always making their predictions but I don't know where I will end up," he said.

"I cannot really speak about it right now but maybe in a few weeks as I do not want to increase the voices as I respect the coaches who are working at the moment.

"If someone makes an offer then I will think about it. I still want to coach at club level but if something else arrives then we will see what happens."

Elsewhere, Jorge Valdano claims Florentino Perez is the one and only presidential candidate able to revitalise an ailing Real Madrid.

Valdano, who served as sporting director during Perez's previous six-year reign at the Santiago Bernabeu, firmly believes the construction magnate should be given a second opportunity in office.

Should Perez wins next month's elections then Argentinian Valdano is also expected to return to the club.

"I have not yet received an offer from Florentino," he claimed. "If and when he asks, I will decide.

"But it would be good for Madrid if he won the elections because he is a person who breathes credibility and sees the big picture.

"Besides, he is the last president to have completed more than one cycle at the helm.

"In a crucial time like this, it is important that people with ideas that can turn things around on and off the pitch take control."

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola claims the Catalan club would have been as successful this season whoever was at the helm.

Guardiola has led Barca to a domestic league and cup double in his first season as a coach, while they remain on the trail of a dream treble ahead of the Champions League Final meeting with Manchester United.

The rookie coach has taken the plaudits following a stunning first season at the Camp Nou, but a modest Guardiola has played down his achievements.

"The only reason is the talent and commitment of the players," he said.

"I'm sure that with other players we wouldn't have won the league. Yet with a different coach they might have done so.

"The key is their talent, humility and appetite for hard work in every single game.

"Football is about footballers. We coaches set out the rules, some ideas and get them to follow them.

"All the rest is them, just them and they have done a great job."