Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guardiola commits future to Barcelona

Josep Guardiola

Josep Guardiola will continue at the helm of FC Barcelona next season after the 39-year-old said he would sign a new deal under a newly elected club president in the summer.

Verbal commitment
The Barcelona coach moved to clear up speculation surrounding his future by offering a verbal commitment to last season's UEFA Champions League winners. "Yesterday I gave my word to the current president [Joan Laporta] that I would continue my work here if that is what the new president wants," he said. "You can know that people want you to continue but a person like me must take into account the pros and cons of the situation. I needed to know that I had the strength and the will of the players and for that reason I asked the club for more time; I'm now confident that I'm strong enough to go on and [at this time] giving my word is enough."

Unprecedented success
Guardiola was promoted to take charge of first-team affairs following the departure of Frank Rijkaard in summer 2008 and few would have predicted the success he went on to enjoy in his maiden campaign leading the club. The Barcelona-born coach guided the Azulgrana to an unprecedented treble of Liga, UFEA Champions League and Copa del Rey triumphs. The trophies have continued to arrive this season with UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup honours gained.

Big effort
With his contract due to expire at the end of the season, officials at the club were keen to keep hold of their coach for the foreseeable future. "I'm thrilled to announce that Pep has the club's guarantee and we have his word that he'll continue," announced outgoing president Laporta. "I'd like to thank the efforts of everyone involved in helping to bring this agreement about."

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