Rumours swirled around the
Spanish press on Thursday that Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola,
distraught after their Champions League exit and La Liga
troubles, may announce on Friday that he is leaving the club at
the end of the season.
The vastly successful 41-year-old - whose contract expires
at the end of June - had a three-hour meeting with club
president Sandro Rosell on Thursday to discuss his future, the
Barca did not confirm any Guardiola news conference or
announcement was scheduled for Friday but a source close to the
club, who asked not to be identified by name, told Reuters
Guardiola had informed Rosell of his decision to move on.
The source added that while he could change his mind at the
last moment after talking to his family, it looked unlikely he
would extend his four years in charge.
Rosell is desperate to persuade Guardiola to stay on and the
longer he has delayed his decision the more speculation has
grown he might be lured to another club with reports linking him
to the Chelsea and Inter Milan jobs, among others.
Other reports suggested he was in line to become the next
England manager or that he was planning to take a sabbatical.
The odds on Guardiola taking over from Fabio Capello at the
helm of the England team narrowed sharply on Thursday. One
British betting house quoted him as 22/1 earlier on Thursday and
those odds fell to 14/1.
The former Barca and Spain midfielder has preferred to renew
his contract on an annual basis and waited until February 8 last
year before agreeing a new deal.
He went on to capture a third straight La Liga title and a
second Champions League crown, as well as the Spanish and
European Super Cups and the Club World Cup, and has led Barca to
13 trophies since taking over in 2008.
However, his team were knocked out of the semi-finals of the
Champions League by Chelsea on Tuesday and their three-year
stranglehold on the La Liga title is poised to come to an end as
bitter rivals Real Madrid have a seven-point advantage at the
top of the standings with four games left.
Barca's one remaining chance of silverware this season is in
the King's Cup and they play Athletic Bilbao in next month's
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