Bye, bye Pep
Guardiola to walk away at end of the season after a successful four-year stint with the Catalan club. Trophy cabinet | All about Pepsports Updated: Apr 28, 2012 01:35 IST
Barcelona's most successful manager Pep Guardiola will walk away from the Catalans at the end of the season and will be replaced by his assistant Tito Vilanova, the club announced on Friday.
Guardiola's decision to quit ends a remarkable four-year spell built on a passing style of unmatched fluidity and control. "I'm sorry for the confusion in recent weeks. I've always wanted short contracts because the demands at Barcelona are so big," the 41-year-old said at the Nou Camp with players present in the audience."Now we were out of the two main competitions, it was a good time to announce it. The reason is simple. Four years, that gets everyone tired. The new coach will give things that I can't give anymore."
Speculation about Guardiola's future intensified after Barca were knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea 3-2 on aggregate in their memorable semi-final on Tuesday when world player of the year Lionel Messi missed a penalty.
That followed a 2-1 home loss to arch rivals Real Madrid on Saturday which meant they are likely to miss out on a fourth straight La Liga title.
A drained Guardiola added: "I am really sorry about having lost that energy but I cannot lie to myself if I don't have the same energy and excitement as the beginning and I knew from before it was my last season."
The Nou Camp hierarchy have moved quickly to name a successor.