Pep Guardiola Resigns from Barca
After a week of speculation, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has announced today that he is stepping down from his post.
The 41 year old former Barca player has endured his most difficult week in the job as his Barcelona team were first defeated by arch rivals Real Madrid to concede the La Liga title, and following this up with a 2-2 draw against English side Chelsea to crash out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage.
Guardiola has enjoyed unrivalled success at the club, winning all 5 trophies the team entered in his first year in charge. His four years at the helm have seen Barcelona win 3 La Liga titles and 2 Champions League crowns.
He has become noticeably jaded in the past year however, with the strain imposed by the rivalry with Real Madrid, and in particular Jose Mourinho, has loaded stress onto his shoulders.
Favourites to replace Guardiola as manager include Ernesto Valverde, a former Barcelona player who has enjoyed success at Greek side Olympiacos, guiding them to three successive league titles. Also in the frame is Marcelo Bielsa, the Argentine whose philosophy so closely matches that of Guardiola and Barcelona. He has done well at Athletic Bilbao, guiding them to the final of the Europa League.
Whoever takes over will do well to improve upon the 13 trophies Guardiola has delivered in his four seasons in charge of the Catalan club. They will however take charge of a stellar playing squad, including 3 times World Player of the Year Leo Messi, as well as stars such as Xavi and Andreas Iniesta.
It is understood that Guardiola will take a year long break from the game, quashing rumours that he will take the vacant managers job at Chelsea. Before he leaves Barcelona however he has the small matter of the Spanish Cup Final to deal with, and he will no doubt wish to leave the club on a high and with his 14th trophy safely tucked away.