Barcelona coach, Josep Guardiola, has stunned the football world with his decision to leaving the Catalan ‘super-club’ at the end of the current season.
The move comes after a disappointing week, in which the side – considered to play the best game on the planet – lost the chance to defend both their Spanish and Champions League titles.
“Every day during four years, the demands are very high, the pressure, the necessary energy to push the players and enjoy it,” Guardiola is cited by AP as saying. “I need to rest and move away.”
The 41-year-old said he made the decision to quit in back December, but didn’t voice it out of fear it would hamper the club in battle for major trophies.
“I'm very sorry for all of the uncertainty I created over this time, over my future. Maybe that was an error of mine,” the Spaniard stressed. “I didn't mean to create this kind of mood.”
Guardiola's news conference was attended by a group of Barcelona players, including Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Victor Valdes, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodriguez – but the team’s biggest star, Lionel Messi, was not among them.
“Leo is with us now,” Guardiola said. “All the players are here with me. I don't remember any single title, rather the emotion I shared with my players. You do everything for the trophy, but you take away the feeling.”
On his Facebook page, the three-time Footballer of the Year explained that he was too heartbroken to appear before the media.
"I wholeheartedly want to thank Pep for everything he has given me in my professional career and personal life," Messi wrote. “But due to the emotion I feel, I preferred not to be present at Pep's press conference, especially because I knew that [the press] would have been focusing on the faces of the grieving players and this is something that I did not want to show.”
Assistant Coach Tito Vilanova will take charge of Barcelona when the current coach steps down in the end of May.
Vilanova "is more than qualified, and the players know him,” Guardiola said. “He will change very little of what we do, and he will give a lot to the players and club. I can't fool myself that I have the same energy as before."
Josep Guardiola won 13 trophies during his time at the Nou Camp, including three La Liga titles and two wins in the Champions League.
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