Football

Barcelona chief want Pep Guardiola as youth academy manager

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed that the “door is always open” for manager Pep Guardiola to return to the club.

Guardiola spent four years in charge of Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, leading the club to 14 trophies including two Champions Leagues and playing football regarded by some as the best ever seen at club level.

The Spaniard has since moved on to Bayern Munich and Manchester City, where he has continued his trophy-laden success, but he has hinted that he wants to finish his career at Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy – an idea Bartomeu is happy to fulfil.

“I read a few days ago that he’s planning in the future to come back to Barcelona and maybe take care of La Masia. I think it’s good news for our club that he could do that one day,” Bartomeu told The Times.

“He knows the door is always open for him. Even when he told us he wanted to leave in 2012, we suggested to him he could take care of La Masia. He preferred [a clean break]. Nobody told him to leave Barcelona. He could come back in future. He knows this. Why not?

“He said he was leaving because he was exhausted and needed a rest. That is something that can happen to any of us, particularly when you work hard under so much pressure and you take such responsibility for your work. We spoke with him several times. We made different suggestions but he insisted, ‘No, this is my last season.’

“We played Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final and we thought it was our time to reach another final. We didn’t have the luck and Chelsea went through. We said after that, ‘OK, now we should announce this officially.’ He works so very hard, but he’s a genius also.”

Guardiola also spent the vast majority of his playing career with Barcelona, joining as a youth player in 1984 and eventually leaving in 2001

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