Guardiola stays at Barca

Record-breaking coach agrees one-year extension to stay at Nou Camp until 2011.

    Rumours had surfaced about a potential move to Manchester United [GALLO/GETTY]
    Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Spanish and European champions.

    The announcement ended weeks of speculation over the 39-year-old's future.

    His contract had been set to expire in June.

    "It was an unanimous decision that Pep should continue as coach,'' Barcelona club president, Joan Laporta said.

    "We had a meeting last night and Pep Guardiola told me he was committed to staying for at least one more season."

    The club said the deal would be signed by Guardiola and whoever wins the club's presidential elections scheduled for this spring.

    Job security

    Guardiola, who turned 39 on Monday, led Barca to an unprecedented six trophies in 2009, including the Spanish league, the Champions League and the Club World Cup, after replacing Frank Rijkaard at the start of the 2008-09 season.

    His team are undefeated in La Liga this term and lead the standings by five points from arch rivals Real Madrid with just under half the season played.

    He joined Barca's youth ranks in 1984 and Dutch coach Johan Cruyff gave him his first team debut in 1990.

    After a successful playing career with Barcelona and Spain he took over from Frank Rijkaard as first team coach.

    Guardiola said he liked to think his contract was being renewed not because of what he had won so far but for what he intended to achieve with the club in the future.

    "Sooner or later I know I will have to stop being coach of FC Barcelona and I know that I'm not going to be better off anywhere else,'' he said.

    Laporta said the club aimed to keep Guardiola for many more seasons but Guardiola said he preferred to sign short-term contracts.

    "I believe you should for sign for short periods in which, as coach, you have to win things, win the players, win the fans,'' he said.


    Although the agreement ties him to the club for the short-term, Guardiola's long-term future will remain open to speculation with English Premier League club Manchester United reportedly considering the Santpedor-native to replace Alex Ferguson once the manager steps down.

    Guardiola won the European Cup in 1992 as a player, and 2009 as a coach [EPA]
    Guardiola said he put off contract talks to stay motivated, but recent public clamour appeared to have helped progress the deal, with Laporta having initially given him until Easter to make a decision.

    Guardiola became only the sixth man to win Europe's top competition as a
    player (1992) and coach when Barcelona beat Ferguson's Manchester United 2-0
    in the Champions League final in Rome last May.

    Led by a potent attack, spearheaded by world player of the year Lionel Messi and midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, Guardiola's success has been marked by trademark flair and bravado.

    Barcelona won last year's league title with a record points haul and added a record 25th Copa del Rey title after two seasons without silverware. The team also scored a record 6-2 victory over arch rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

    Guardiola made 386 appearances for Barcelona as a skilful defensive midfielder and went on to become team captain. He won the Spanish league title six times, the Copa del Rey twice, and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 11 years in the team. He also played 47 times for Spain.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    All Hail The Algorithm

    All Hail The Algorithm

    A five-part series exploring the impact of algorithms on our everyday lives.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.