Guardiola quits Barcelona job

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has resigned his position. He leaves with the club still champions of the world, but out of the Champions League, and facing losing their Spanish title to Real Madrid in the next few weeks.

Guardiola’s exit was not a total surprise but his announcement in a press conference was still an emotional occasion. "Four years is an eternity for a coach," he said. "In autumn I announced to the chairman that I was seeing the end of my era at Barcelona. Obviously we couldn't say that to the players publicly. Now we're out of the two main competitions it is a good time to announce it. I had to announce it today to end the confusion."

Guardiola’s immediate successor will be his assistant Tito Vilanova, best-known for being the unfortunate recipient of an eye-gouging blow from Jose Mourinho after a tempestuous Barcelona v Real Madrid match.

"The new coach will give things that I am unable to give any more," Guardiola said. "It would have been a bad idea to continue. I'm going with the understanding that I've done my duty. This club is an unstoppable force. The one that will replace me will take this club on and do it marvellously. I don't know what else to say so I'll just shut up."

Debate will now turn to Guardiola’s next job. He is lately to take some time away from football, but there are two possible vacancies that will interest the English press. One is the Chelsea job, if Roberto Di Matteo has not already made it his. The other is the small matter of England coach.

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