La Liga

Guardiola calls it quits as Barca boss

Pep Guardiola will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.
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Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed he will be leaving the club in the summer.

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Guardiola's contract was due to expire at the end of June and he informed the players at training on Friday that he would not be extending his stay at the Nou Camp.

Guardiola stepped up from Barca B manager to first-team boss in 2008 and has gone on to become the most successful coach in the club's illustrious history.

He has led the azulgrana to two Champions League crowns, three La Liga trophies, one Copa del Rey, three Supercopas, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.

At a press conference, president Sandro Rosell said: "Pep Guardiola will not continue in charge of the team next season.

"Thank you Pep for all the happiness you have brought us and for bringing a model of football that can never be questioned."

Guardiola has operated on short-term deals throughout his tenure but has usually renewed before this stage of the season, prompting speculation he was ready to walk away.

He is thought to have met with Rosell, vice-president for sport Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta on Wednesday - the day after they were eliminated from the Champions League by Chelsea - and indicated his desire to leave.

At the club's request he promised to give it further thought but emerged with the same decision.

Barcelona quickly named Guardiola's assistant Tito Vilanova as their first-team coach for next season.

Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta felt promoting from within, as they did with Guardiola, was the best way forward.

He said: "We've always said that if the team needs players, we look at home first (Barca B). Who do we have here at home? Tito."

The move to name a replacement so swiftly was a surprise with speculation in Spain linking the likes of Ernesto Valverde, Laurent Blanc and Marcelo Bielsa with the position once it became clear Guardiola was heading for the exit.

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