Guardiola pens one-year Barça deal
Pep Guardiola has signed a new contract to remain as Barcelona coach for at least one more season, following a meeting with new club president Sandro Rosell. The 39-year-old verbally agreed the deal with former Barça president Joan Laporta in January, but Rosell had hoped to tie the coach down on a long-term agreement.
Guardiola has remained true to his word, however, and put pen to paper on a new deal which will keep him Camp Nou until 30 June next year. Barcelona announced the deal on their official website, but neither the coach nor Rosell will hold a press conference to discuss the new agreement.
Guardiola took over from Frank Rijkaard in the summer of 2008, after leading the club's reserve side to promotion from Spain's third tier. The decision to appoint their former captain, who lacked top coaching experience and was only 37 at the time, was questioned by many key figures in the game and the early signs were ominous as Barça went down to promoted side Numancia in his first league match.
Guardiola recovered to lead Barcelona to an unprecedented treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League titles in his first season, before making it six trophies out of six with the capture of the Spanish and European Super Cups, and the FIFA World Club Cup. Guardiola led the Catalan giants to the league crown in his second season, taking his tally to seven titles out of a possible nine.
Barcelona's website described the coach's new contract as "the most long-awaited piece of news" of the summer, and the club will now concentrate their efforts on strengthening their squad for 2010/11 campaign. Striker David Villa has already signed from Valencia, but the Catalans also hope to bring in their former youth team midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal.
The Gunners have already turned down a €35m bid from Barcelona for their captain, but the Catalans are expected to return with an improved offer in the coming days.
Striker Thierry Henry also left the club today, the former Arsenal forward signing for New York Red Bulls on a multi-year contract.