The Pep Guardiola era at Barcelona has apparently come to an abrupt end as the manager of the Spanish giants has announced that he’ll be leaving the football club at the end of the current La Liga season. It’s been reported that the Barca assistant manager Tito Vilanova will take over the reins. Guardiola will have spent four seasons at Barcelona when he steps down and has lead the club to a total of 13 trophies during his tenure there.
These include three consecutive Spanish league titles and two European Champions League crowns. However, this year hasn’t been to kind to the team as it’s almost certain Real Madrid will win the league this season and English Premier League club Chelsea recently knocked Barcelona out of the Champions league by an aggregate score of 3-2 over two legs. He also had to undergo surgery in November and as he was suffering from a tumour on his saliva glands.
The 41-year-old Guardiola made the surprising announcement during a press conference at Barcelona’s famous Nou Camp stadium on Apr. 27, as reported recently to Eurobetting.co. The manager simply said that four years is a long time at a club like Barcelona and he just wants to take a rest and recharge his batteries. Guardiola, a former midfielder with the club, added that it’s time for a new face and some fresh ideas and Vilanova will be able to provide those things.
Vilanova, a former player, has been an important part of Barcelona’s and Guardiola’s success over the past four years and is looking forward to taking over where his close friend is leaving off. Guardiola and Vilanova were players at Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy and they worked together when Guardiola got his first managing job with Barcelona’s B team. Barcelona said Vilanova will take over from his mentor since he possesses integrity, personality, commitment, and an inside knowledge of the club.
Guardiola said he’d be available to help Barcelona out in a consulting role if they ever need him. He usually works on a yearly contract and some fans thought he might step down last year since he didn’t renew it until February. However, he stayed on and added the European Super Cup, Club World Cup, and Spanish Cup to the league and Champions League titles.
His players also flourished under Guardiola’s tutelage and 24-year-old Argentinean Lionel Messi is good proof of this as he’s been named the World Player of the Year for the last three seasons and has broken the 60-goal barrier this year. Messi wrote a statement on his Facebook page that thanked Guardiola for everything he’s done for him both as a football player and as a person. He added that he didn’t attend the farewell press conference because he thought it would be too emotional.
It’s going to be hard for Guardiola to rest though, since there will be dozens of clubs after his services. These likely include Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Manchester City. In addition, Qatar and England are also looking for a new manager. It’ll be interesting to see how long of a rest he takes. However, this season’s work isn’t over just yet as Barcelona can still capture the Copa del Rey in May when they take on Athletic Bilbao in the Cup Final.
Author Profile: Stefan+