Guardiola pens Barça extension
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has agreed a one-year contract extension with the Catalan giants.
The 39-year-old, whose existing deal was due to run out this summer, has ended increasing speculation about his future by committing himself to Barça until the end of next season. Guardiola was promoted from coach of Barcelona's B side to his current position in the summer of 2008 following the departure of Frank Rijkaard, and last year he led the club to an unprecedented six-trophy haul.
Having became the first Spanish side to win the treble of UEFA Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey during the 2008/09 season, Barcelona then added the Spanish and European Super Cups before completing the set by winning the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
"I think that it's very good news for everyone associated with Barcelona because we all wanted Pep to continue," Barcelona president Juan Laporta said at a press conference today. "He doesn't like me saying it, but Pep Guardiola is the best coach in the world and we are proud to continue to have him here. The new contract can be signed with the new president from June 1."
Guardiola, who has recently been linked with a move to Manchester United as a possible replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson when the Scot steps down at Old Trafford, admits he would have preferred to wait until the end of the season but wanted to put the issue to bed. "I know that sooner or later I will cease to be coach of Barça and I have to enjoy the time I'm here to the maximum," he said.
"A coach of Barca can't be here for life just because... I think that you have sign for short periods in which the coach has to earn things, with the players, with the fans. I wanted to see if that was happening, if I had the support of the players, the board.
"Nowhere am I going to be as comfortable as I am here," added Guardiola, who as a player and former captain with Barça represented the club between 1990-2001 and won six league titles, the European Cup and two Copa del Reys among a host of other trophies.