Pep Guardiola last night laughed off speculation linking him with the vacant post at Stamford Bridge. He was asked if he had been contacted by Chelsea and jokingly replied: "Every day, every day."
The 41-year-old coach, whose deal at the Nou Camp runs out on 30 June, also backed the fired Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. The two met at last season's coaches' forum in Nyon, Switzerland, and Villas-Boas, despite having once been an assistant to the present Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho, was an outspoken admirer of the Barcelona coach.
Guardiola said of Villas-Boas: "I think he is a fantastic coach but we all know that in this business everything depends on results and not on our own capacity as a coach. Time is not something you get but when you do this job you know that. I can't comment any more because I don't know the situation at Chelsea."
Barcelona will be in the Champions League quarter-final draw on 16 March if they maintain a 3-1 first-leg lead over Bayer Leverkusen tonight.
The Germany coach Joachim Löw has refused to comment on speculation linking him with the vacancy at Chelsea. A report in a Swiss newspaper claimed he had met Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, in a Geneva hotel to discuss the possibility of the 52-year-old replacing Villas-Boas.
Chelsea denied any meeting had taken place and Löw, in Geneva with the German Football Federation, yesterday declined to discuss the issue. He said: "I have a contract as national team coach until 2014. The European Championship starts in three months and everyone knows my goal. I see no reason for me to comment on speculation."
The Swansea manager, Brendan Rodgers, emphatically ruled himself out, saying: "If any of our fans are wondering about me and Chelsea, they need not panic. I am trying to build my career and not destroy it."