Pep Guardiola will be considered for the Barcelona managerial role after Ernesto Valverde, according to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Valverde, a former Barça teammate of Guardiola’s, took over at the Camp Nou in July 2017 and has a year left on his present deal.
The Guardiola years at Barcelona: Five things to know…
- Guardiola succeeded Frank Rijkaard in the summer of 2008.
- He previously coached the club’s ‘B’ team after ending an illustrious 18-year playing career.
- Guardiola led Barcelona to a historic treble in his first season.
- He left in 2012 having won 14 pieces of silverware, including three La Liga titles and two European Cups.
- Guardiola’s overall record at Barcelona: 247 matches, 179 wins and 21 defeats with 638 goals scored and 181 conceded.
At the moment there is no suggestion of Valverde leaving the Catalan giants anytime soon, especially as they are fighting for silverware on three fronts.
Valverde claimed a league and cup double in his first season and could go one better this time around. Barcelona have an 11-point advantage over Atlético Madrid in La Liga with seven matches remaining.
There’s a Copa del Rey final against Valencia to look forward to next month but ahead of that is the small matter of facing Manchester United in the Champions League.
Valverde hasn’t quite endeared himself to the Barça public, in stark contrast to Guardiola, who has alluded to a future return, which club president Bartomeu is not ruling out.
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“He took the decision to leave and, of course, when Barça are looking for a new coach I am sure he will be one of the next board’s candidates,” he told ESPN FC.
“I think Pep said recently that he didn’t see himself as the first-team coach again, but maybe with the academy.
“He’s very clear on the club’s philosophy and style of play and to be able to bring him back home would be great for the club and for the players.”
Chasing more history
Guardiola, who led Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, claimed a historic treble in his first season at the Camp Nou. He would add two more league titles and a European Cup in 2011 (again at the expense of Manchester United) before taking a sabbatical.
Another trophy-laden spell followed at Bayern Munich and there’s every chance he could replicate that dominant period in England with Manchester City.
Under his leadership, City are hoping to lift no fewer than four major trophies this season; a feat no English team has managed before. So far, they’ve claimed the League Cup and have a FA Cup final date with Watford in May.
Winning the Premier League, which they did with some ease last season, could prove to be a challenge as they are locked in battle with Liverpool. City have never gone further than the semi-finals in the Champions League and will need to get past Tottenham Hotspur and then one of Ajax or Juventus if they are to make history.
Former Manchester City midfielder Michael Brown believes that if Guardiola goes on to win a famous quadruple this season, the former Barcelona man won’t stay at the Etihad too much longer.
He told the BBC: “I think, you know the amount of work he does, the job he does, he puts everything into it so it’s going to end, maybe next season.
“And where does he go after winning all of those four?
“It will be a real legacy to leave and say ‘I’ve done that, I can move on and leave you in such a great place’ and whether he goes on to one of Manchester City’s other projects or has that time out, that’s the type of person he is. He won’t want to do this forever.
“He can possibly make them a better team but can he get those results again and go through the season like he has done and win all of these trophies? I’m not so sure he can so at that point, on all four, it will be incredible.
“I think it is a time to check out and say ‘I can’t do anymore with you, it’s just time to go.'”