Over to you, Tito… No 2 Vilanova named new Barca boss as Guardiola confirms departure
12:36 GMT, 27 April 2012
Barcelona paid an emotional tribute to departing Pep Guardiola after the Spaniard confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the season.
Key stars of the first team, including club captain Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas watched Guardiola deliver his farewell speech at the Nou Camp, applauding him after announcing an end to his glorious trophy-laden four-year era
Barcelona also revealed that Guardiola's No 2 Tito Vilanova will take over the managerial reigns next season.
End of an era: Guardiola has confirmed he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season
Feeling the strain: Guardiola confirmed his exit at an emotional press conference
'I would like you to understand that this is not an easy decision for me. But I would like to explain my reasons for this decision,' said Guardiola.
'I have always wanted short-term contracts. Four years is an eternity as Barca coach. In the month of October I announced to the president and to the sporting director that I thought my spell was coming to an end.
In the spotlight: Guardiola's departure is set to ignite interest from England, with City and Chelsea said to be interested
In charge: Vilanova will take over from Guardiola next season
'The main reason why I have taken this decision is because four years is many years.
'I have given everything and I have nothing left and need to recharge my batteries.
demands have been great and I have not been able to rest much. I have
to recover and the only way I can do that is by distancing myself.
Otherwise, we would have ended up damaging each other.
Right-hand man: Guardiola has tipped Vilanova to succeed at the Nou Camp
La Liga 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11
Champions League 2009, 2011
Copa del Rey 2009 (2012 still to play)
Spanish Super Cup 2009, 2010, 2011
UEFA Super Cup 2009, 2011
FIFA Club World Cup 2009, 2011
know that I'm leaving the best place to work in. I am very satisfied
with the result we have achieved. I have had the great privilege of
coaching fantastic players. I want to thank them.'
At the same press conference, Barca president Sandro Rosell announced Vilanova would step up into the top job.
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.'
Misery: Barcelona were dumped out of the Champions league by Chelsea on Tuesday night
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.
Guardiola endorsed the move. He said: 'I think the club has taken the best decision possible.
'He is more than capable. The players know him. He will make few changes. He will give the club and these players something that I thought I could no longer give.
That's handy: Puyol and Xavi were among a host of first-team players at today's press conference
'I could have continued but is not what Barca would have deserved.'
Rosell hailed Guardiola's contribution and backed Vilanova to continue Barca's success.
He said: 'Pep always takes the best decision for this club. It was his decision and it's a personal one and an understandable one.
'We hope to follow the inheritance that Pep leaves us with the best we can. He has made us proud.
Why the sad face, Gerard Pique looked appeared glum after arriving at today's press conference
'Now we can confirm that Tito Vilanova will be our new coach. This was a decision taken by Andoni Zubizarreta and it has been ratified today by our executive committee.
'Tito and Andoni will now work on next season's planning and I am sure they will do a good job.'
decision comes after a bad week for the Catalan giants following their
midweek Champions League exit to Chelsea and their La Liga title
collapse after last Saturday's defeat to Real Madrid.
41-year-old said it would have been a 'bad idea' to continue, sparking a
scramble for his services this summer, placing the likes of Chelsea and
Manchester City on alert.
Guardiola's contract was due to
expire at the end of June and he informed the players at training today
that he would not be extending his stay at the Nou Camp.
Main man: Guardiola has won 13 trophies in his four years in charge
Long association: Guardiola with Bobby Robson in 1997
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.
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 the press conference, president Sandro Rosell said: 'We have called
you today to announce that 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.
Adventure: Guardiola spent a brief period alongside Gabriel Batistuta (right) and Claudiou Caniggia (left) at Al-Ahli
FIVE OF THE BEST
Here, Sportsmail looks back at five of Pep's best wins as Barca boss.
REAL MADRID 2 BARCELONA 6 (Primera Division – May 2, 2009)
Barcelona took a giant step towards winning the Primera Division title in Guardiola's first season at the helm by crushing arch rivals and nearest challengers Real Madrid in stunning fashion at the Bernabeu.
Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi both netted braces while Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique were also on the scoresheet as the treble-chasing visitors inflicted a first league defeat on in-form Madrid since beating the then champions at the Nou Camp in December. Madrid had picked up 52 points from a possible 54 since that match, but this defeat left them seven points adrift of Barca with only four games remaining.
BARCELONA 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 0 (Champions League final – 27 May, 2009)
Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi combined to sweep Manchester United aside and lead Barcelona to victory in Rome, handing Guardiola an amazing treble of league, cup and Champions League in his first season.
The Catalans richly deserved their triumph after producing a mesmeric display United were simply unable to match after Eto'o had given his side a 10th-minute lead. Messi's looping header killed the Red Devils off after the interval.
BARCELONA 5 REAL MADRID 0 (Primera Division – November 29, 2010)
A second-half brace from David Villa led Barcelona to an incredible rout of Real Madrid and saw the Catalans leapfrog their fierce rivals – who lost for the first time under Jose Mourinho – at the top of the Primera Division.
Mourinho had gone unbeaten in his first 19 games in all competitions since joining Madrid in the summer, but the Portuguese was unable to avoid defeat in the biggest one of all as Guardiola maintained his perfect record as Barca coach in El Clasico with a fifth straight victory over Madrid.
Xavi and Pedro put Barca two up within 17 minutes, while Villa made it a night to remember at a packed Nou Camp with two goals early in the second half and substitute Jeffren Suarez added a fifth right at the end.
To add insult to injury for Madrid, they finished the match with 10 men after Sergio Ramos pushed Puyol in the face late on.
BARCELONA 3 MANCHESTER UNITED 1 (Champions League final – May 28, 2011)
Barcelona cemented their status as the greatest team of the era by romping to victory over Manchester United at Wembley, denying Sir Alex Ferguson's side Champions League glory for the second time in three years.
Messi moved ever closer to the pantheon of all-time greats with a virtuoso performance in the biggest club game of all, scoring a stunning goal to make it 2-1 after Wayne Rooney had cancelled out Pedro Rodriguez's opener.
United fell into the same trap as in the final two years ago in Rome, Barca completely dominating after surviving an early onslaught as David Villa applied the killer third goal with more than 20 minutes remaining.
BARCELONA 7 BAYER LEVERKUSEN 1 (Champions League last 16 – March 7, 2012)
Lionel Messi scored five goals at the Nou Camp as the holders destroyed Bayer Leverkusen to confirm their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 10-2 aggregate win in their last-16 tie.
Barca had been understated but superior in the first leg in Germany, winning 3-1, and were expected to ease through in the return match. However, they played with trademark hunger under Guardiola as Messi became the first player to score five in a single Champions League game while substitute Cristian Tello added two in a performance of startling brilliance. Karim Bellarabi managed a consolation in stoppage time.