[QODLink]
Football
Pep Guardiola leaves Barca
Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola will depart Catalan club at end of season after securing 13 titles over four years.
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2012 14:08
Guardiola is being linked to Chelsea although has expressed desire to take a break from football [GALLO/GETTY]

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, architect of one the greatest eras in the club's history, is all but sure to announce his departure on Friday.

The 41-year-old has decided not to renew his rolling one-year contract and will stand down at the end of the season.

"Pep is going" cried the front-page headline of Barcelona-based daily Sport.

"Where will you be better off than in Barca?" the paper pleaded beneath a photograph of the 41-year-old Guardiola, head down and hands pressed together in deep reflection.

Fellow Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo hedged its bets with a front page that can be turned upside down to read either "Pep is going" or "Pep is not going".

"Turn the front page around depending on what Guardiola says today," the paper advised its readers.

Inside, however the paper was more pessimistic. "He has practically decided to leave Barca: today he will tell the management and the team," Mundo Deportivo said.

"Nevertheless, up to this morning the door was still open for him to carry on."

Departure imminent

Guardiola, who has led the team to 13 titles during his four years in the job, has spoken with his players.

No-one was available to comment at the club.

Spain's biggest selling sports daily Marca said Barcelona fans were on tenterhooks waiting for the news. "He is closer to leaving than staying," the paper said.

Chelsea knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League this week and the Catalans' archrivals Real Madrid beat them in a pivotal league clash at the Camp Nou last weekend.

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.

Earlier this week the daily Sport, without naming sources, said candidates to replace him included France coach Laurent Blanc, Olympiakos coach Ernesto Valverde and Athletic Bilbao's Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
join our mailing list