PEP Guardiola’s former top-flight Spanish club Barcelona may be in to lure him back to the sacred grounds of the Camp Nou, where he stands man alone as the club’s most successful manager.
This in the case that Manchester City’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) against a two-year European ban is thrown out. Cas are expected to deliver their verdict in the next couple of weeks after City appealed against the ban imposed by Uefa for serious breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. Guardiola, who took over as boss from Manuel Pellegrini at the English club four years ago, is entering into the final year of his £20 million agreement.
The 49-year-old led The Citizens to back to back league titles in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns while adding to an already brimming trophy cabinet which now sees him boasting a whopping 30 trophies as a manager. The Spaniard has amassed these across the three clubs he’s managed in Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now City. The latter are expected to sit down with Guardiola at the end of the season to discuss his future.
But Barcelona, who only appointed their head coach Quique Setien in January, are confident that their former man is open to returning to his home town should his current club’s European ban appeal go wry. Thus, Barça will look to use the prospect of Guardiola being faced with no European competition to compete in for the next 24 months at City, as their main bargaining tool to lure him back.
On the season’s performance, City have been miles behind the new champions and currently trail them by a monstrous 23 points with seven games remaining. Guardiola has been vocal on the gap between the two sides but doing the honourable by hailing Jurgen Klopp’s men. “Congratulations for Liverpool fans, the manager and the players. They are well-deserved champions,” the City boss said recently.
We are far but the other 18 teams are farther. Liverpool didn’t drop points, so, we have to recover for the next season to be more consistent and recover the points we missed this season. That is the reality when the gap is like this. Two seasons ago we had 25 points more than Liverpool, now they have the distance.
Guardiola added: “In the last ten competitions we have played, we have won eight, which [has] never happened in this country. You cannot win them all; it can happen to miss one. We lost Vincent Kompany and had Aymeric Laporte injured – maybe after winning titles we didn’t get or arrive with the same passion.”
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