Bat­tle for Guardi­ola be­gins

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — Pep Guardi­ola was back in Barcelona on Sun­day night as he con­sid­ered the next move in his ca­reer, with the Premier League his prob­a­ble desti­na­tion af­ter it was an­nounced he will be leav­ing Bay­ern Mu­nich at the end of the sea­son.

Manch­ester City are in the strong­est po­si­tion but a fi­nal de­ci­sion has not yet been made and there has been sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est from a wide range of clubs in­clud­ing Chelsea, Arse­nal and Manch­ester United, as well as French cham­pi­ons Paris Saint-ger­main.

A de­ci­sion is not ex­pected im­mi­nently but what is now known is Guardi­ola will not be con­tin­u­ing at Bay­ern.

The 44-year-old had said things would be “clearer” by the week­end and Bay­ern an­nounced on Sun­day he will leave in the sum­mer. That was swiftly fol­lowed by con­fir­ma­tion Carlo Ancelotti would be his re­place­ment in Mu­nich.

Ancelotti im­me­di­ately de­scribed the chance to coach the Ger­man cham­pi­ons as an “hon­our”, but Guardi­ola did not im­me­di­ately make a state­ment.

With the Bun­desliga break­ing for the win­ter, Guardi­ola flew to Cat­alo­nia to spend Christ­mas with his fam­ily, where he will have time to think care­fully about the pro­pos­als that have been placed be­fore him, all of which are at­trac­tive.

Some­thing of a cast­ing process has opened up, as clubs seek to con­vince him. No dead­line has been set for a de­ci­sion, al­though it is not ex­pected to ex­tend much be­yond the end of Jan­uary.

Guardi­ola was de­ter­mined to make the de­ci­sion in what he con­sid­ers the right or­der, de­cid­ing on and an­nounc­ing his de­par­ture be­fore choos­ing where he goes next.

He will not speak un­til he re­turns to Mu­nich in early Jan­uary but there is no guar­an­tee a de­ci­sion will have been taken by that stage.

Bay­ern’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Karl-heinz Rum­menigge, said he was con­vinced Guardi­ola’s de­par­ture will only re­in­force the club’s de­ter­mi­na­tion this sea­son.

Manch­ester City, whose sport­ing di­rec­tor, Txiki Beguiris­tain, worked with Guardi­ola at Barcelona and whose chief ex­ec­u­tive is for­mer Barcelona di­rec­tor Fer­rán So­ri­ano, are the best placed at the mo­ment and there is a fear among some of his suit­ors that he has al­ready cho­sen the Eti­had.

City man­ager, Manuel Pel­le­grini, hinted at that when he said: “I am sure Guardi­ola will work here some day.

I even hope he will have the op­por­tu­nity to work at Manch­ester City too be­cause I love this club and I care about its fu­ture and I am sure he would do a good job.

“When is the fu­ture I don’t know but if the fu­ture turns out to be next year the most im­por­tant thing for me to do is to try to win the ti­tle again.”

Some of the other clubs pur­su­ing Guardi­ola recog­nise the dif­fi­cul­ties in land­ing him but while his fu­ture is un­con­firmed they will con­tinue to try to win him over. Prom­ises have been made and projects pre­sented.

Wher­ever he chooses, his salary will be huge and he will be given the au­thor­ity to work as he wishes and there is much to at­tract him to suit­ors be­yond City.

He has friends at Chelsea and Arse­nal and Lon­don is a fac­tor. The de­par­ture of José Mour­inho means Chelsea have a va­cancy in the long term, with Guus Hid­dink tak­ing over on an in­terim ba­sis.

Ro­man Abramovich has long been an ad­mirer of Guardi­ola and much has been made of the Chelsea owner’s de­sire to forge not only a win­ning team but an at­trac­tive one.

United have not given up hope of con­vinc­ing Guardi­ola though they have been say­ing they are happy to stick with Louis van Gaal and are wait­ing for a clear sig­nal of the Spa­niard’s in­ten­tions.

The de­sire to con­vince him to move to Old Traf­ford can only have been height­ened by the pres­sure build­ing on Van Gaal who ad­mit­ted af­ter the home de­feat by Nor­wich on Satur­day he is con­cerned about the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing sacked.

For Guardi­ola, United’s sta­tus, size and his­tory are sig­nif­i­cant at­trac­tions. Guardi­ola will leave Bay­ern with at least five tro­phies to his name, in­clud­ing two con­sec­u­tive Bun­desliga ti­tles.

A third is likely to fol­low. So far, though, the Cham­pi­ons League has evaded him. “We are grate­ful to Pep Guardi­ola for ev­ery­thing he has given our club since 2013,” Rum­menigge said. .

Mean­while, Bay­ern di­rec­tor of sport Matthias Sam­mer feels Guardi­ola has been JOSEP ‘Pep’ Guardi­ola Sala was born on 18 Jan­uary 1971. He played as a de­fen­sive mid­fielder and spent the ma­jor­ity of his ca­reer with Barcelona, form­ing part of Jo­han Cruyff’s “Dream Team” that won the club’s first Euro­pean Cup in 1992, and four suc­ces­sive La Liga ti­tles from 1991 to 1994.

He later cap­tained the team from 1997 to 2001. He then played for Bres­cia and Roma in Italy, AlAhli in Qatar, and Dorados de Si­naloa in Mex­ico while train­ing to be a man­ager.

While play­ing in Italy, he served a four-month ban for a pos­i­tive drug test, al­though he was cleared of wrong­do­ing twice on ap­peal in 2009 be­fore the Courts of Jus­tice of the Ital­ian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion and the Fed­eral Anti-dop­ing Courts of the Ital­ian Olympic Com­mit­tee (CONI).

Guardi­ola was capped 47 times

treated un­fairly by the me­dia be­cause of his suc­cess. De­spite back-to-back Bun­desliga ti­tles, his meth­ods have been the source of de­bate.

“In Ger­many we al­ways have the feel­ing that when some­body’s get­ting so much praise, then there has got to be an­other ex­treme and they’ve got to be brought down some­how,” Sam­mer told Sky Sport Deutsch­land.

“What he has achieved, also for Ger­man foot­ball, is ex­tra­or­di­nary and we’ve got to recog­nise that. for Spain, win­ning an Olympic Gold Medal in 1992, and ap­peared at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

A deep-ly­ing play­maker, he was highly re­garded through­out his ca­reer for his vi­sion of the game, ball con­trol, tech­ni­cal abil­ity, pass­ing range, and com­po­sure.

Af­ter re­tir­ing as a player, Guardi­ola be­came coach of Barcelona B, and in 2008, suc­ceeded Frank Ri­jkaard as the first team man­ager.

In his first sea­son as man­ager, Guardi­ola guided Barcelona to a tre­ble, win­ning La Liga, Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cham­pi­ons League.

In do­ing so, Guardi­ola be­came the youngest man­ager to win the Cham­pi­ons League.

The fol­low­ing sea­son, Guardi­ola led Barcelona to the Su­per­copa de Es­paña, the UEFA Su­per Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup, bring­ing his tally to six tro­phies out of six com­pe­ti­tions in one year, thus achiev­ing the sex­tu­ple.

In 2011, Guardi­ola was awarded the Cata­lan Par­lia­ment’s Gold Medal, their high­est hon­our. That same year, Guardi­ola was also named FIFA World Coach of the Year.

On 30 June 2012, Guardi­ola an­nounced his de­par­ture from Barcelona af­ter win­ning 14 tro­phies in just four years in charge of the club.

Af­ter a sab­bat­i­cal, Bay­ern Mu­nich an­nounced on 16 Jan­uary 2013 that Guardi­ola would join the club as man­ager for the 2013–14 sea­son fol­low­ing the re­tire­ment of Jupp Heynckes.

In his first sea­son at the club, Guardi­ola won the Bun­desliga, the Dfb-pokal, the UEFA Su­per Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.-

“We have got to bring an end to see­ing neg­a­tively some­body who works so painstak­ingly, as if to­mor­row never comes.

“In re­cent days, Pep’s come off far too badly. What he does with his hard work, his ded­i­ca­tion and his pos­i­tive crazi­ness can be dis­cussed, but it can­not ever be ques­tioned.”

Sam­mer says Bay­ern will not fall apart now that Guardi­ola is leav­ing, how­ever, say­ing that he had al­ways been plan­ning for this even­tu­al­ity.

Ancelotti, who has won the Cham­pi­ons League one time more than Guardi­ola, will

be fill­ing the Cata­lan’s boots next sum­mer.

“It’s a pity (that Guardi­ola is leav­ing), but this is foot­ball,” Sam­mer added. “It’s al­ways a loss, but on the other hand we have to serve our re­spon­si­bil­ity for this club and get back to nor­mal.

“What the play­ers have achieved in th­ese past four years is ab­so­lutely honourable, and now we’ve got to find the right time to get back to talk­ing about what mat­ters.

“Ancelotti is the man we re­ally wanted; no­body else came into the frame.”

— the­guardian

Bay­ern Mu­nich man­ager Pep Guardi­ola

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