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Guardiola bids adeu after unprecedented run
by Paul Kennedy, April 27th, 2012 1:12AM

TAGS:  barcelona, spain


[WORLD VIEW] Pep Guardiola has decided to quit coaching Barcelona. At 41, age isn't an issue. Failure isn't the problem. Yes, a 2-1 defeat at home to Real Madrid in La Liga and a 1-0 loss to Chelsea three days earlier in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League mean that Barca won't defend its La Liga and European titles. But they are two of only three defeats in 57 competitive matches for Barca this season.

Just as players get tired from the long European seasons -- and Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Xavi indeed looked tired in recent weeks -- so do their coaches from the mental strain.

Guardiola never indicated he would last more than a few years at Barcelona -- “Either you get tired of the players or they get tired of you," he once said -- and he has shown no indication of wanting to do anything more than taking a break and spending time with his wife and their three children.

He has a standing offer from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich to take over Chelsea any time he wants, but that can wait.

Guardiola will go out having achieved one of the most successful four-year runs a coach has ever achieved at a major club:

-- In his four seasons, Barca has lost just 19 times in 239 matches, just 10 in La Liga and five in the Champions League. Its seven losses in 2008-09 were the most in a season. Barca lost four games in 2009-10 and six in 2010-11.

-- Barcelona won six trophies in all six competitions it entered in 2009: La Liga, Copa del Rey, Supercopa, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

-- Barcelona won five trophies in 2011. The only trophy it did not win was the Copa del Rey. It fell to Real Madrid, 1-0, in overtime in the final.

-- It captured three straight La Liga titles, the first time a team won three in a row since Barca's Dream Team of the early 1990s.

-- It has won at least two trophies in every competition except the Copa del Rey. Barcelona will have a chance to win its second cup title under Guardiola when it faces Athletic Bilbao on May 25 in his farewell game.

  1. Carlos Thys
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 7:40 a.m.
    Does this then mean Carlos Puyol as player-manager? Or? Might the FC Barcelona board and president let Pep step down in three weeks time -- and -- just leave the post open for a bit to see if Pep has a mid June change of heart? I haven't a clue on that. But if Barca needs to fill the trainer position, it will be interesting to see if FC Barcelona again works to keep it all in the family, i.e. choosing one from the former Barca player ranks or a long-serving assistant trainer. I should think that "keeping it in the family" is what the recent two decades has told them is the best course of action. But with all the heavy, heavy politics and politicing around this Club, well, one never knows.

  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 8:05 a.m.
    There have been so many rumors about Pep going to another club (Chelsea) that I'm not going to react to any more. He'll do what he is going to do and I have the patience to wait until he does it.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 8:37 a.m.
    Don't think Barca will keep it in the family. Pep always talked about the importance of new ideas and innovation within the existing system. And I would be shocked if Pep takes another job this season. I think he sits the year out and picks his job after that.

  1. Efrahim Fernandez
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 9:08 a.m.
    Pep was an excellent coach and more importantly by all accounts a wonderful person gracious and humble. Barca FC is a club that had all the parts in place and Pep did an incredible job of tweaking and getting the most out of it. It would be interesting to see him move to a different club and implement his ideas and see the outcome. As a Madridista I have great respect for him as a person and coach.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 9:29 a.m.
    Can we get him to come to the USA to take over and revamp our National Youth Development System? Just a pipe dream,I know.But what a great way for him to be out of the spotlight and still keep his finger in the game doing something he might love while still offering a great challenge.

  1. Jack Niner
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 10:38 a.m.
    All accolades aside from past years, Pep's performance in the last three games (Chelsea, Madrid, Chelsea) was close to dreadful. It's the big games that matter.

  1. Andres Yturralde
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
    As I've already said: A change is coming... Un cambio viene!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at noon
    To Walt what a great idea! However, I don't think that Sunil G and his company of cohorts i.e. US Soccer would want him to come and replace Reyna and his "golden wunderkids" but I'd sure as heck would welcome him here! To J. Niner: Come, come, come now! The losses to Chelsea were nothing short of seeing lots of negative soccer by this Brit team, and to RM, well that is the danger of pushing up so much that you forget the lone ranger forward as was the case vs RM. That his coaching was dreadful, were you watching the same game? What would you have done against Chelsea? Good luck to Coach Pep and Barca!!!

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 12:42 p.m.
    Guardiola took a very successful team from Rijkaard and made them exceptional, and when we have some time to reflect on what he has done at Barcelona, I believe his record and this team will stand alone. Barcelona is already calling him the most successful manager in its history ( they once had Cryuff calling all the shots). Pep made a bold move getting rid of Yaya Toure in favor of Busquets. He also immediately shipped out Deco and replaced him with Xavi, a player whom Rijkaard never liked. And of course the youngsters he introduced into the squad, including Pedro and Thiago, who will be with us for a long time. He was so instrumental in lifting this current team of players into greatness, and there is little doubt in my mind he is the only one that the experiment would have gone very differently had someone else been in charge. I am sad to see him go, optimistic about the changes Tito will bring to the team, and excited about the prospect of Guardiola bringing this model to another team/country. We were all lucky to watch this team play.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: April 27, 2012 at 6:53 p.m.
    Well said Gak. Who knows, after some time off, perhaps he will return to Barca? Ric, what better mentor for Reyna and Ramos than Pep? Maybe Pep would enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere in the US as he sets up a program and tutors are US trainers, without the pressure of qualifying a team or winning a league title.But you're right, Sunil would never have that kind of imagination.

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