Pep Guardiola has closed the door on a return to Barcelona, saying he will never become the Catalan club’s president.
After the Manchester City boss said earlier this week that he felt he was “approaching the end” of his coaching career, Fabio Capello suggested the 45-year-old may already be thinking of a return to Barca.
However, Guardiola — who has previously ruled out returning to the Camp Nou as manager — has now dismissed the possibility of returning as the club’s president, saying he loves his job at City and has no intention of leaving coaching any time soon.
“I was lucky to be trained by Fabio Capello and I would like to tell him I will never be president of FC Barcelona,” he said at a news conference on Thursday. “There is already Gerard Pique to do that.”
Guardiola spent 17 years at Barca as a player and returned as manager of the B team in 2007 before taking over from Frank Rijkaard as first team manager the following year.
During four years in charge he won 14 titles, including the Treble in his first season, but left in 2012, exhausted by the demands of the job.
Speaking while still Bayern Munich coach in 2014, he ruled out ever returning to his boyhood club in a managerial capacity.
“In principle I won’t coach Barca again,” he told Mundo Deportivo at the time. “I think that there are cycles in life and that mine [at the club] finished.”
Now, having ruled out returning as president, there will be genuine doubts about whether Guardiola will ever return to the club where he has spent nearly half of his life — as his father, Valenti, suggested earlier this year.
Pique, on the other hand, has revealed he would love to be the Barcelona president one day, as Guardiola alluded to in Thursday’s comments.
“I want to be president of Barca,” the defender said in October. “It’s a step I’d like to take when I retire. I don’t see myself as a manager. I don’t think I would enjoy it as much.
“As a president I could do really well for this club, because it’s what I am passionate about. My playing career will [one day] come to an end, and the step I’d like to take is to become Barcelona president.”