After failing in their bid to defend their Champions League and Spanish league titles, FC Barcelona's Pep Guardiola has announced he will no longer continue as the team's coach beyond this season.
At a news conference on Friday, Pep Guardiola announced he would not continue his job as head coach of FC Barcelona, effective at the end of the season.
In the last week, Barcelona failed to get past an inspired Chelsea side and advance to the finals of the Champions League. A loss to La Liga rivals Real Madrid over the weekend also likely cost them the Spanish league title. Barcelona came into the season as Champions League title holders and has won the last three La Liga championships.
Guardiola has presided over one of the most successful runs of a European club soccer team. Barcelona won 13 trophies out of 17 competitions they entered in four seasons under the 41-year-old, including two club World Cup and two Champions League titles. As a player, Guardiola spent much of his career as Barcelona and also played for the Spanish national team.
"The reason is simple, four years are long and they wear you down," Guardiola said at the press conference in Barcelona. "Every day during four years, the demands are very high, the pressure, the necessary energy to push the players and enjoy it. I need to rest and move away."
The last match with Guardiola at the helm will be the Spanish Cup final, set for May 25 against Athletic Bilbao. Barcelona's president, Sandro Rossell, said Guardiola's assistant, Tito Vilanova, would assume head coaching responsibilities after that.
Guardiola had been weighing the decision for some time, and had previously said he felt his time as Barcelona's coach was drawing to a close.
mz/rg (Reuters, AFP)