Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Pep Guardiola to end reign as Barcelona coach in summer
Pep Guardiola will stand down as Barcelona manager at the end of the season after deciding not to renew his rolling one-year contract.
The 41-year-old, who was appointed in 2008 and has led the Catalan club to 13 trophies, will be succeeded by current assistant Tito Vilanova.
Barca look set to miss out to Real Madrid in La Liga and were knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea.
"The reason is simple: four years is enough," said Guardiola.
"I'm drained and I need to fill up. The demand has been very high and a manager must be strong." Guardiola is the most successful coach in Barca history, with three league titles, two Champions Leagues and a Copa del Rey among his haul.
He has overseen the rise of three-time world player of the year Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta, while signing Fabregas from Arsenal.
Guardiola was particularly close to Messi - describing him as "the best ever" player - while the Argentina forward suggested Guardiola was the main factor behind Barca's recent success.
Messi was one of the players who opted to stay away from Guardiola's news conference.
Instead he posted a message on his Facebook page and stated he felt too much emotion to face the media glare.
Because of the emotions I feel I preferred not to be present at Pep's press conference and to stay away from the press because I know they will look for the pain on the players' faces," said Messi.
"It is something I decided not to show."