OFFICIAL: Pep Guardiola quitting Barcelona | inside World Soccer

OFFICIAL: Pep Guardiola quitting Barcelona

[Friday, April 27, 2012 ]

Pep Guardiola's four trophy-laden stint as Barcelona coach will come to an end in the summer after deciding not to renew his rolling one-year contract.

Departing Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola looks on during a news conference
Departing Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola looks on during a news conference

Photo: Reuters

The players were informed of his decision during training on Friday morning and a formal announcement followed in a press conference attended by Guardiola and the squad.

At the press conference, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said: "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. The thanks from everybody at Barcelona will be eternal for the best coach in the history of the club."

Guardiola's decision comes after a disastrous week for the club following their midweek Champions League exit to Chelsea and their La Liga title collapse after last Saturday's defeat to Real Madrid.

The 41-year-old had met with Rosell, sports vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta on Wednesday and indicated his desire to leave.

At the club's request he promised to give it further thought but emerged with the same decision, allowing the club to build for the future under new boss Tito Vilanova, Guardiola's assistant for five years.

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell hugs departing coach Pep Guardiola
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell hugs departing coach Pep Guardiola

Photo: Getty Images

"I'm very sorry for all of the uncertainty I created over this time over my future, maybe that was an error of mine," Guardiola said. "I didn't mean to create this kind of mood.

"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. Otherwise, we would have ended up damaging each other.

"I know that I'm leaving the best place to work in. I am very satisfied with the result we have achieved.

"I have had the great privilege of coaching fantastic players. I want to thank them."

Guardiola has led Barcelona to 13 trophies since replacing Frank Rijkaard at the helm in 2008, including two Champions League crowns and three La Liga titles.

He added: "Four years is an eternity as Barça coach.

"Every day during four years, the demands are very high, the pressure, the necessary energy to push the players and enjoy it. I need to rest and move away."

The former Barça captain is now planning to take a 12-month break from the game, although he is sure to be in demand across Europe.

"Sooner or later I'll take up another coaching job, but not right now," Guardiola said.