Barcelona braced for Guardiola exit

By IndepthAfrica
In Soccer
Apr 27th, 2012
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Barcelona's Spanish coach Josep Guardiola gestures during a training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League final football match FC Barcelona vs. Manchester United, on May 27, 2011 at Wembley stadium in London. AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona have called a press conference this morning in which the future of manager Pep Guardiola is expected to be revealed.

The speculation in recent weeks is that the 41-year-old will seek a break from the pressures of managing the Catalan club, which he has propelled to unprecedented heights in his four years in charge.

Senior figures at the Nou Camp have been trying to persuade him to continue for another year at least – especially as the failure to recapture the league championship and the Champions League would be an inappropriate epitaph to one of the most successful managerial careers in football history.

But Guardiola has repeatedly hinted that he wants time off – telling friends and colleagues that it isn’t a new challenge he needs but no challenges at all, at least in the immediate future.

According to reports, he expressed his mental exhaustion as early as last November, when he told Andoni Zubizarreta, Barcelona’s sporting director, that he didn’t want to renew his contract for another year. His refusal to do so in March and April seems to underline the point.

Guardiola has met with Barca president Sandro Rosell this week to discuss the future. The fact that the announcement comes today, after he’s had the chance to speak to his players, could confirm fans’ worst fears.

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