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MADRID - Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is likely to announce on today whether he is staying or leaving the Spanish champions, a source close to the team said Thursday.
“Everything points to the coach possibly making a statement on his future on Friday,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The fact that Guardiola has yet to sign a new Camp Nou contract has led to intense speculation on his future with rumours rife that he will quit on Friday.
Guardiola, 41-year-old architect of one of Barcelona’s most successful footballing eras, said Tuesday that he would be speaking to Barca president Sandro Rosell in the coming days to decide his future.
The Barca coach revealed he would be holding the pivotal meeting at a news conference after Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea.
Barcelona’s Champions League exit and their loss to Real Madrid on Saturday — which led Guardiola to concede the league title will go to Madrid — has led some to speculate about a mini-slump.
But Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said Monday he was convinced that Guardiola will continue at the helm.
“I think he’s going to keep going — he loves this club, he loves his profession,” he said. “I think there is no bigger passion for him than football and FC Barcelona. So really I bet he will be with us next year.” Spain’s press was filled with rumours Thursday about Guardiola’s possible departure but none of the reports quoted named sources and the club declined to comment.
In April last year Guardiola told Italian television Rai Sports that he felt his time as Barcelona coach was coming to a close.
“I feel good here but I believe my time at Barcelona is ending,” the coach said.
“I’ve already done three years, one more will be four years. And in four years a big club needs a lot of courage to keep the same coach. Everyone should know when it’s the right time to go, as I always heard when I was a player.” The coach extended his contract with Barcelona by a season in February 2011 and his new deal expires in June this year.
Guardiola, who spent most of his playing career at Barcelona, coached Barcelona’s B team before taking control of the first-team squad in June 2008 from Dutchman Frank Rijkaard. - AFP