Will he or won’t he, aka “Say it ain’t so, G!”

Uh, oh …. what a week this has been. First, we lose not once, but twice in our house, and now this, the thing that we don’t know.

Pep Guardiola, even when he signed on as our coach what seems like an eternity ago but in fact has only been four seasons, said that he wouldn’t sign long-term deals, so that he could follow his heart, his “feeling” in deciding when it would be time to step down as coach of FC Barcelona.

I thought, as we all did, that he would be around for a very long time, through a series of one-year deals. As time passed, that feeling for me began to change, to my most recent view, which is that this coming season would be his last.

Armageddon began brewing with a casually tossed off Tweet by writer Jimmy Burns, who said that if we don’t qualify for the Champions League final, Guardiola would most likely go. We didn’t qualify. A teary Guardiola hugged his players, one by one, after the Chelsea match.

Then today, came word of a series of meetings, dependent upon how trustworthy Barca-centric media sources are:

–Guardiola met with Tito Vilanova to discuss his future
–Guardiola met with RoSELL to discuss his future, or the meeting will come on Thursday, whichever
–RoSELL met with sporting director ZubiZa after his meeting with Guardiola, or before his meeting with Guardiola

And then, finally, word from the club that there will be no official announcement until Guardiola has an opportunity on Friday to speak with the players.

Recall the last time that he renewed. The club made an announcement, a smiling Guardiola received a standing ovation from his charges at practice, and that was that. This, however, all feels very, very different. My initial reaction was “Oh, crap, our coach is leaving us!”

Unfortunately, that is still the reaction of the journalist in me, even as that side battles with the cule, who doesn’t want the journalist to be right, who wants all this stuff to lead to an announcement that this will be his last season, and he wanted to let the players know. This move would also allow him to partially finish out his program, see through a bit of his commitment to the Masia grads and go out on top, with either/both a Liga or Big Ears cup.

At present, we still don’t know what is going to happen, but signs are ominous. But it’s all still speculation, but we’d be crazy if we didn’t acknowledge the possibility none of us want to believe would happen: Pep Guardiola might be coaching his last season as Mister at FC Barcelona.

Already, we have begun to hear names, such as Ernesto Valverde, Laurent Blanc, Andre Villas-Boas and Marco Bielsa being bandied about as possible successors. Don’t forget that Roberto DiMatteo doesn’t have a job, either. And it’s safe to say that this club, right now, would be a coach’s dream job, and nightmare. I mean, what a club, but what a record of success, right? Guardiola, whenever he leaves, will whomp down a set of big, giant shoes to fill. You also wonder if now isn’t the time, precisely because the big magic hasn’t happened, leaving the door open for a new coach to have his own successes.

Yikes!

For now, we sit and wait, but not for long. You can imagine that every journalist covering the club is beating the bushes and flogging sources in an attempt to get something, anything that might clarify the picture. And the question isn’t only who, but what, as in “will Guardiola do after he leaves?”

I don’t know that I have ever seen our coach looking so harried and helpless, sounding almost valedictory in his recent press conferences, sometimes almost wistful. I believe that a season off will come after he leaves us, whenever he leaves us. And now, we wait.

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

231 comments

  1. Another attack from Sourinho;

    “I think Chelsea’s boys were heroes [against Barcelona], absolute heroes. Some people think they are the masters of the game and they will criticise Chelsea in the same way that they criticised Inter two years ago, but they know nothing. Nothing.

    They know nothing about character and personality. They know nothing about the effort or what it is to resist physically, emotionally and technically, with 10 men. They know nothing about organisation. They know nothing. That’s why my heroes at Chelsea are in my mind and why Chelsea deserve to be in the final.

    1. Mou will never change. He should have said Chelsea have done what RM couldn’t do last yr. This man is obsessed with Barca and Pep. He’s out to prove a point that Barca should have picked him over Pep but, you know what? Barca picked the best coach for the club. Mou can win a title in every single country but, he can’t do what Pep and the team have done and that’s 13/16 titles in 4 yrs. Hell, he couldn’t do it with supposedly the best RM team. I think what also bothers him is how much power Pep has in Barca something that he craves for in Madrid. I’ve stopped paying attention to the guy coz cleary he’s not all there.
      As for Pep, i think he’ll renew. If he is set to leave, i think he deserves to leave on a high while beating Mou in the process. Behind Obama, i think Pep is the 2nd most powerful man in the world, lol, (joke). But seriously, he needs to renew.

    2. Call me naive, but I don’t even think this was necessarily directed at Barca the club as such, but more at those in the Catalan press who chose to frame the Chelsea defeat as a footballing injustice. Regardless of whether you think it’s something he should talk about or not after his team have just been defeated (personally believe he’s free to, though for outsiders his obsession is tiresome), beneath the rhetoric he’s making a valid footballing point.

  2. Ivanovic: My booking? I got it for kicking the penalty spot before the penalty [which Lionel Messi missed]. It was strange.

    Didn’t catch that on tv but that was pretty low to do that. He needs to get elbowed by Ron Metta World Peace Artest.

  3. Obi Mikel: The JT one was soft from what I saw and it was a yellow card. I think Sanchez made the most of it.

    In their books, cheap kick, hit or knee from the back doesn’t warrant a red card.

    If Im not mistaken, JT and Alexis were involved in a similar incident at Stamford Bridge last week. But that looked accidental to me.

  4. “If we weren’t playing to win the title, we would have had fresher players, but the team were fantastic in terms of their physical condition.

    “Barcelona played the Clasico and then two days later lost to Chelsea, this has incredible value.

    “You only have to look at the final which will be played between the fifth placed team in England against the second placed team in Germany, both of which used second choice players at the weekend.”

    He made some sense there because both Chelsea and Bayern didn’t have a hard match over the weekend and they could rest their key players unlike any of us.

    But at the same time he praised Chelsea’s performance and criticized us for knowing nothing.

    And when his team loses, he wants to use the excuse of el Clasico which has to apply to us as well but they had one extra rest day compared to us.

    1. Pique said complaining about fatigue is for loosers. Barca had less time to rest and no one complained and we still ran the show but for lady luck.

  5. Oh, Kxevin, i wish it was Friday. I can’t take this much anxiety. I mean, he won’t leave us now, right? He can’t leave us. Would he leave us?
    Seriously, though, I don’t think he’ll leave just yet. I think he will stay for one last season, to have another go at the CL and to be able to say he gave Cesc, Alexis and the kids the best chance at it. But, I do believe he’ll make it clear to the players and the club it will be his last season to give everyone a chance to get used to the idea and also to give the club a chance to find a repacement. Seriously, who would want the job now? Who’s brave enough to hace a go at it when everything they do, and I do mean EVERYTHING, from the sign-ups and the tactics to how he handles the press conferences and even his style of dress, let alone results, would be compared against Pep’s light? I know there are ambitious people out there, but it’s almost as if the next coach is being set up to fail from the beginning. He said he would do what’s best for the institution, and what’s best is for him to stay another year and even help the club find a suitable replacement.
    As far as what he does post-Barça, I definitely think he’ll take a sabbatical. I don’t see him going to any other club or NT right after. It would be a gigantic slap in the face to the players and the fans, and he just doesn’t seem like that kind of person.
    Now, what really worries me is what I heard on ESPN Deportes Radio last week. They interviewed the guy who released the story that Pep was actually going to leave. He said that his ‘sources’ (close to the family and friends, supposedly) said that he was going to take a sabbatical because Tito’s health is not well and he needs to tend to it first and Pep is not going anywhere or doing anything without Tito. I have no idea how true that is, but that’s what he said.
    Do you really want to see players’ long faces, hearts and morale crushed (let alone us fans)? Saturday and Tuesday are nothing compared to Friday, if he tells them he’s not renewing. I know they’re professionals, etc, etc, but they’re people first, you know?
    Anyway, I’m just glad Iive on the west coast so, hopefully, by the time I get up on Friday this will all be over, one way or another, but if you want to see and hear a heart break, come to Las Vegas on Friday if Pep announces he’s leaving.

    Sorry for being so long-winded, but this has been in my mind much more than I care to admit.

    1. Sorry for the typos. It’s hard to type on the iPod, and it doesn’t allow for much proofreading.

    2. The small keyboard doesn’t help, does it? I get typos with my iPad. But i think it’s just a grudge between the touchscreen keyboard and me.

  6. It all reminds me of that crazy 24 hours when Ibrahimovic was being signed by AC. When the press start leaking meetings and the like, suspicions get raised. It certainly seems different in terms of timing and the lead up in the press to how things were done in previous years. I am sure Pep, as ever, will do the right thing – what exactly that is only he knows.

  7. I for one wouldn’t mind if Pep quits this season. He’s give his all & maybe we need fresh impetus. I hope we get someone who has coached outside the club – either as a new manager or as a number 2 or 3 – just to bring some new ideas in. Tika-Taka has been hugely successful for us but against TOP teams who park the bus & hit on the break we have started to struggle. A fresh face who is loyal to our style BUT has ideas from other countries/clubs on how to change our gameplan when it’s needed would be much appreciated.

    1. Disagree with parts of this. Agree that there is a growing sense that perhaps Pep himself needs a rest and perhaps club could do with a fresh take (though I think this overstated). Pep such an intelligent man, would be fascinated to see where he takes us next. Saddens me to think he might not, even if reasons for this are understood.

      One very speculative thought if he were to leave is that I hope this hasn’t put him off running for president/taking on a more backroom role at the club. Would be a shame for Barcelona if his present role was his final contribution, he understands the club as well as anyone, and has the intelligence + charisma to make real contributions.

  8. Talk with the players about his future? More like say the last words to the club… Who would really want to step into Pep’s shoes and fill in the best team in the world? Come on, seriously. THis guy has made football like a different game with the passing and well there isn’t another coach like him. Bielsea, Enrique or AVB would be my replacements as they play similar football like him but they won’t be able to create the football that he did. Cryff would be great to have back though he won’t come here again… I knew he was going to go but I just want him to be like a Sir Alex Ferguson and stay with Barca forever.

  9. I want him to at least coach for another season. But if he decides to go, I want Joachim Low as our next coach.

  10. Now its a good time to re-watch this wonderful interview-
    The Mister with spanish film director Fernando Trueba.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=djnk0aPpnD0

    So much passion in Pep! So inspiring.

    I feel if Pep wants to take a season break, let him have it. As much want him to continue yet i am strangely at peace with the other decision somehow. If Pep thinks that he has hold the ball long enough (4 yrs) for the sake of possession (continuation of success), and if total footballing philosophy allows for a hypothetical tiki taka between B team coaches, so be it. Continuity is the priority at every level for this club. Even in this crucial transition phase, it still is.

  11. Pep Guardiola is solely responsible for all the success we’ve had.
    Not messi, not xavi, iniesta, puyol, they were all there before he came. The values and mentality he has instilled in the squad, frankly feels like a fairy tale.

    Here’s why I feel Pep should stay, not because of selfish reasons, and not because his story makes him and Barca a match made in heaven. The story of a fan becoming a ball boy, playing in all the youth divisions, going on to become one of the most successful players and a celebrated captain and then becoming the most successful manager is something you will not find in anyone else, maybe ever.

    But there are very young players who depend on him. Their careers depend on him. He has given debuts to i dont know how many canteranos. But if not for anyone, I think he should atleast stay one more season for Cesc and Alexis. Both these players took pay cuts and joined barca because of him, to learn from him and to win with him.

    1. That wasn’t the only reason they joined, though. They joined also because we play great football, and football that wins trophies. Pep is integral to that, but I struggle to think that this won’t be the the case afterwards as long as Barca are intelligent in finding a replacement. Comparisons aren’t always helpful, but Shankley resigned suddenly from a comparatively weaker Liverpool team. It’s hard to overstate how much he did for Liverpool, raising them up from the second division to league champions, nurturing a culture so strong that Liverpool have been running of its momentum ever since. He had been there 15 years (compared to Pep’s 4). Yet Liverpool improved under Paisley. Whilst it’s unrealistic to expect Barcelona to improve, there are more than enough good fundamentals at the club that a manager coming in can have few excuses. The question is finding the right man. Liverpool had the Boot Room, insiders who understood the club. You sense with this group of players something similar is required, someone who understands and can carry out Pep’s vision, the vision that, as you say, has led to this success. Who that is I’m not sure, but they’re out there.

      But I do agree in many ways. I hope these conversations are all proved premature; Cesc and Alexis are very much Pep’s players and it will be a shame to not see how he uses them in their second season at the club, especially Cesc who is struggling at the moment.

    1. yes, UEFA honoured the Wembley to mark FA 150th anniversary. Barca have a very sweet memories with this venue; we won 2 CL final there. Wish we could make Wembley hattrick next season.

  12. i’m ok about la liga, the champions league, and all,
    but sitting in the pre-dawn darkness, contemplating losing pep right now, i just feel bereft. tears, stopped up head, cringing sadness.

    i sincerely hope that if he’s making a change, he’s explaining to the players that this coming season is his last (for a while) – i don’t think the shock of leaving right now would be good for the club or anyone.

    as you said, now we wait. ugh. i don’t know if i want time to go faster or to stop.

  13. All i want is Abi, Villa and Pep on the field next season.
    God..
    When I thought health wasn’t everything in life, god proved me wrong.
    When I thought health was everything in life, god proved me wrong again.

    Standing between the doors of right and wrong, I’m rooting for love and I know whatever will happen on friday, it will be all about the love for this club.
    Whatever happens, we all stay strong:/

    1. Good point. I’d almost be surprised if Pep didn’t leave now. It would be strange for a fairly rational guy like him not to look at his young family having seen dealt with the health issues of Abi and Tito, and NOT think – “hmmm, I’ve done enough here, I’ve lost all my hair – time to spend a bit of time with those close to me and refresh”.

    2. To many negatives there, but I hope you get my point. Pep leaving would be perfectly sane, so think we would be wise to temper arguments for him staying with quasi-emotional blackmail stuff, e.g. stay for x, stay for y. Shankly was wrong – life’s too short, Pep should in no way feel compelled to sacrifice his health or the opportunity of giving his children and wife proper attention for what is just a game. He might do that, but let’s have it be his choice and not, as tempting as it is, try and claim Project Barcelona trumps all other considerations. It’s a fantastic club, but it’s taxing being their manager and he’s given more than enough.

      Apologies if this sounds rantish/patronising. I’m a long term lurker.

  14. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2135375/Pep-Guardiola-England-managers-list.html

    Ok, a risk at linking the Mail quoting Catalan papers, but what an interesting idea/fantasy (summary: English FA want Pep as a consultant). Pep leading a revolution in English football would be a sort of a continuation of Cruyff’s work, proselytising to the ultimate heathens the word of Michels.

    Disclaimer: I am English. Not very patriotic, but for purely aesthetic/frustration-avoidance reasons would dearly love to see this happen in my lifetime. Sort of thing that you have to file under ‘will believe it when I see it’ sadly.

    1. Guillem’s rubbishing it on twitter. Chances increasing.

      Honestly, it would be so fun to see Pep trying to explain that to his catalan friends. “So, you are going to leave Messi and Barcelona to fix English football? You are Zlataning, Pep.”

  15. – I feel Pep will renew. He probably made the talk with Rosell to ensure he have authority he required to bring more victory. He could draw on this season result as a reflection for the board; what went wrong and what needed to come stronger next season. The decision to stay in the continent for next pre-season was one of pronouncement that heavily demanded by Pep.

    – The result of two CL semifinals was another cue of a very small margin of error when you play in the very top level of European football. This is indicating that when a club wins more than one major trophies in a single season, it’s an immense achievement. You need a near perfect performance and consistency throughout the season; plus, capability of managing the random factors (injury, fatigue, resource allocation, schedule, transfer decision and luck).

    – In the last 2 decades, only 3 teams and coaches that have won treble denote the “complexity” to win in top level football. Alex Ferguson with his Fergie babes in 1999, Pep with current Barca team in 2009 and Mou with Inter in 2010. Those teams demonstrated a near perfect performance in their respective year and would be very very hard to repeat. It’s no coincidence too, that those three coaches are still the best three in the world right now.

    Visca BARCA!

  16. Balague: “According to sources in Barcelona, Pep will announce tomorrow if he stays or goes. Club fear he might announce his departure. Only Pep knows”

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Not good, I sense.

    1. Some opinions afloat that if Pep not renew, the new hired coach would be under heavy shadows of Pep success. That point of view is valid. But on the flip side, Pep would also leave a very strong team with proven maturity and cohesiveness. So the new coach would start with a very well-built structure. He just needs to prepare himself mentally strong to be compared with his predecessor. If he is strong enough to manage and jump that physchological barrier, I think this team could still continue making the history.

      PS: I personally pray Pep continue.

    2. If Pep goes, then there are two things specific to Barca that are in a new managers favour.

      Firstly, his predecessor is a man with the club’s interests at heart who I think it’s safe to say will leave behind no ill feeling nor feel any Mourinho-esque need to comment/interfere behind the scenes.

      Secondly, the players are very respectful by nature. However, as with anything, it is respect that has to be earned. New manager will have to show above all an appreciation of the playing style the Barcelona players enjoy. That is not to say modifications are not required, but no stylistic revolution of the type AVB attempted at Chelsea thank you very much.

  17. I’m just not going to speculate about Pep. What will happen will happen.

    *fingers in my ears* LALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!!!

    1. Yes – with you on that one. 😀

      Too much torment in one week without getting into a “Will he? Won’t he?” debate.

      All I’ll say is that Pep will continue if Tito is by his side AND if he can get the assurances that he requires from Rosell, Zubi and the board that he has their full backing.

      Rosell cannot use the “we can only afford B&W copies” excuse. He needs to provide enough funding for Pep to get what he wants, as well as give Pep complete control over the first team in every way.

    2. Google Madhur Jaffrey. I learnt the best tips and recipes from her.

      Also Charmaine Solomon.

    3. All I know is, the secret to a really good curry is to let it “rest” in the fridge overnight. Tastes so much better the next day! This works for pasta sauce as well.

    4. Here’s a cocktail recipe that might come in handy:

      Post-Pep Fizzle Fizz A.K.A. The Comfortably Numb

      Ingredients:

      Entire Contents of Liquor Cabinet
      Entire Contents of Medicine Cabinet

      Combine Ingredients in a giant boot-shaped glass, drink and enjoy.

  18. Some reports in england say Barça might want to sell Dani alves in order to rebuild the squad as they have grown tired of his defensive indiscipline. I mean newspapers are having a great time now that barça couldn’t make it to Munich. Pathetic

    On another note i’m sure pep will do whats best for our beloved institution. Personally I want Pep to continue for many years although that might be wishful thinking on my part.

  19. Slightly off-topic, but very amusing: some LOL jokes are being written in the TB comments re Ramos.

    Some of the gems:

    ~ Ramos and an elderly woman reach Heaven’s Pearly Gates at the same time, and St. Peter asks the woman why she should be allowed in.

    “I’ve been good and kind all of my life and prayed every day,” she responds.

    “OK,” says St. Peter, “that’s good, enough. Now, Ramos, why should I let you in?”

    Says Ramos, “Oh, I don’t want to stay, I just want to get my ball back.”

    **********
    Apparently North Korea has contacted Ramos. After their latest rocket launch failure, they want to hire him as a consultant to find out how they can successfully shoot projectiles into space.

    **********
    There are reports that Ramos’ ball has still not landed – it’s on a World Tour.

    **********
    And then there’s this gem of a gif: http://i.imgur.com/WKX8r.gif

    Gotta laff! 😀

  20. –The sell Alves stories are trumped-up nonsense. Montoya isn’t THAT ready.

    –The above comment about Vilanova’s health is something I hadn’t considered. A couple of commenters mentioned that Vilanova hasn’t been looking at all well since his return. But I just can’t see a sabbatical/return. If he leaves, I think it’s for good.

  21. “we decide what’s best for the club.” So if Pep decides that he better leaves, he must have very good reasons…
    We’ll see.

  22. So I got depressed and saw my shrink…
    Might need more counseling, but if Mr. G leaves, I might just lose it. 🙁

    Anyway, I love you Pep and thanks a lot.

    Uhmmmm..Pls staty…pretty please 😉

  23. The journalist in me actually suggests that Pep is coming back. I take the opposite position of Kxevin..

    The tearful hug given to every player is basically a way of saying.. alright, guys.. great run.. it is devastating that we didn’t win it all this time.. But thanks for the effort. It doesn’t necessarily mean.. “alright, goodbye”.

    All this to and fro meetings with various representatives of the club is to get assurances about what Pep feels are musts if he has to continue. The uncertainty is not from Pep. He has, IMO, set out the boundary conditions for his continuation. It is upto the Barca management to heed that or else look for a replacement.

    As things stand, I don’t think the Barca management has the gumption to let Pep go.

    What the boundary conditions are.. I suppose..could be the following –

    1) No parading around of Barcelona’s players in taxing pre season tours to earn the extra Moolah. (Already kind of addressed by limiting the preseason schedule to European fixtures)

    2) More control for coaching staff over player development, transfers and organic integration from La Masia in the true Cruyffian sense.. and that means no demeaning/demonisation of Cruyff’s proteges and former management officials. That also means greater cohesion of playing strategies and selection at the lower levels.

    3) Less commercialisation, more core football.

    And some such. If Pep gets all these, he stays, IMO.

  24. I don’t like what Pep is playing. If he wants to take off, than just come out and say it and not fool around.
    Nobody is bigger than the club, so neither is he (maybe Oleguer) regardless that he brought the brightest times of 100 and few years of the club’s history.
    If he leaves, the reasons are surely personal, cause i think he got almost everything that he wanted, professionally, he even convinced RoSell that the players should stay at home this summer.
    If he is leaving, he should have done that last year when we everything, again. I blame Chelsea and RM for destroying a man’s life and not letting him have this year’s CL and LL trophies.
    If he goes, good for him, if he stays, good for us.

  25. Pep can’t leave. Please don’t leave. After so much success in the last few years, he simply cannot leave on a losing note. He owes it to himself more than anyone else to leave on a high.

    Though of course, as he always mentions, football is just a game after all, and he could have a multitude of other reasons for his decision.

  26. Pep is a troll. He is meeting with players to see Pique put his hand in the fire and to see Messi cry buckets. Then he will say he already renewed in the Jan transfer window LOLLERCOPTERS.

  27. barcastuff ‏ @barcastuff
    Official: Xavi has a muscle tear in his left calf and is out for around 15 days #fcblive

    And how long has he been sufffering/playing with said tear?

    1. It’s been nagging him since last year. Maybe the pain is really unbearable so it’s advised he take a rest. And if he’ll be out for 15 days, I guess he won’t be playing for the remaining 4 games. Liga will end on May 18. I just hope he’d be okay for the CdR Final on May 25.

    2. I think Xavi and Puyol should contemplate about retiring from La Roja after Euro. Age factor shows that their body couldnt cope any longer with chock a block full schedule of Barca and NT games. They could prolong their career if they give up for NT selection.

  28. I think that Guardiola is doing this at this time so that if he decides to leave, the board will have maximum time to make its decision, to answer some of the “Why now?” questions. The new person could easily be in place before preseason.

    –I also think that Guardiola owes the club nothing. We owe him everything. When you think of what he did for us, what he must have given up, the joy that his efforts have wrought. Man, that’s just crazy to contemplate.

    –Guardiola has started a revolution. Football, and Barca football, will never be the same. He didn’t just say he was going to attack. He did it. And won silver, hearts and minds. Sometimes, a true revolutionary knows when it’s time to step aside and let things continue. I believe that he has the best interests of the club at heart.

  29. This is the first time in 3 years I had serious doubts about his continuity. It won’t be easy to replace Pep and though I believe we will continue winning trophies (maybe not 13 of 16 in 3 years), but nothing will ever be the same. It’s impossible to replace a genious, as it will be impossible to replace Messi when he retires in 2023(ish) in our club. He will be sorely missed. We can’t thank him enough what he did to Barça. He will be remembered as Johan Cruyff.

    Bielsa ends his contract this year. He’s a strong candidate. He could teach us to do killer counter attacks while keeping our posession game with agressive pressure on other team’s half. He could come with Javi Martinez or Llorente.

    1. Another name I floated on Twitter was Rene Girard, who is at present coach of Montpellier. He took over in 2009, and now has them top of the table, with a club that doesn’t have immense talent even if it does have a few remarkable players. I would LOVE to see Belhanda in the colors, for example.

  30. I believe its more personal decisions within the squad that is making Pep unsure.

    Such as after a 4 years cycle it is obvious some of our core players need to be gradually removed from the starting 11 and not used week in, week out.

    Sport is saying that one of his tough decisions if he stays on, is making some heavyweights to gradually lose prominence in the starting lineup and others specifically, Pique should seriously rethink their professional attitude.

    Pep has personal relationships with everyone in the squad so maybe breaking this to some of his closest friends is a heartbreaking strain he doesn’t want to go through as a manger. He has to make cold cut decisions involving players he cares deeply about, such as Pedro and Pique.

    He needs to reevaluate certain players commitment and age and decide, while bringing in new players to compete for a starting spot.

    If he stays, it means that Guardiola has to rebuild a squad that is fulled with his closest friends and maybe restrict playing time to some, which he said before, deeply hurts him when he has to sit someone on the bench. ie the Pique & Pedro situation now.

    As a man manger, Pep is one of the best but when it comes to making personale changes he needs a helping hand since he is a loyal man who cares about his players as his family.

    1. See, I think that Guardiola would have no compunctions about moving about whatever he had to in order to ensure this club’s success. And he would make clear, as he did with Pique, that the person who was benched or left off for technical reasons, would understand.

    2. Also dropping Alves for the second leg of the semis. This is the sad thing about Pep leaving. He is a legend, a man clearly committed to the club’s best interests – this knowledge makes the hard decisions much easier to sell and carry out.

    3. I disagree-if anyone can make those difficult decisions while maintaining the players’ respect, it’s Pep. Can’t see that going over as well if some new guy were doing it.

  31. This does not look good. If he was staying I’m sure they would’ve been a leak by now. The fact that there is no leak suggests he’s going, in my view.

    Very sad day, but then again, if it’s his decision, we must respect it and move on.

    1. Backtracking, apparently …. in other words, they’re making the same speculation as everyone else, which is that the portents are not good.

  32. This whole thing reminds me of that 24 hour shitstorm leading up to Ibra’s departure, except the consequences are about 1000 times as great.

  33. This might sound a tad ridiculous, but is there anyway that were Pep to leave that the blog could communicate its thankfulness directly to him? A card perhaps, or something more ingenious/less traditional? Does he have an office/secretary? Know I’m jumping ahead, but given what looks likely to happen just something to think about. He’s given us all so much, more than we could have ever expected – would seem the right thing to do.

    Amazed at the second part of that rumour, Kxevin. Already someone lined up, you think?

    1. Well they have to be prepared for any and all possibilities rights? They need to have a list of candidates just in case.

    2. Yes, I suppose so, especially with Pep’s 1 year contracts. Guessing game will be insufferable, hope it’s done as quickly as this rumour suggests if it has to be done.

    3. Exactly. I think the club has had a short list for a while now. And who wouldn’t leap at that job? Bielsa’s contract, for example, is up this year. Villas-Boas available. Now we wait.

  34. Almost from the time he was born Pep has been a cule. His family has been with the club for generations. He grew in La Masia and was a ball boy for the team.

    A playing legend who was the epitome of one of the great sides in European history.

    A manager who recreated for the club an even greater project than the one he played for.

    We all know this. We know all of it. But it’s important now to remember that none of us have the club in our heart’s to the degree that Pep must. All of those connection, memories, accomplishments.

    If he does leave it will be for one over arching reason-he just can’t lead the team to the degree he thinks is right. If he leaves it’ll be an act of love. But it’ll be because he thinks it’s for the best.

    What ever his decision – it’ll be a personal one. One that we should honor.

    All of this made me think back to something Messi said about Pep around a year ago:

    “The coach knows the club better than any of us. He was a ball boy, player and now coach. He is very smart, knows what needs to be done at all times and how to treat each player,”

    He knows what needs to be done at all times and how to treat each player.

    Whatever Pepe’s decision – it’ll be for the same reasons. It needs to be done. And it was the best way he could treat his players.

    Pep very well could be wrong on both counts. But those will be his honest reasons for staying or going.

  35. Latest report is that the club have offered Guardiola a blank check, full carte blanche, deadline of Sunday for acceptance.

    So here we go:

    1. Leaked thing means club is trying to save face now. “We tried everything, he just wanted to go.”

    2. Because if you make that kind of an offer, you DON’T put a deadline on it.

    He’s gone, folks. But keep in mind that he always said he wasn’t a long-term coach, and would be here only a few years. So we can’t be that surprised.

    But man, would I love to be wrong.

    1. Yeah remember that interview to that Italian journo last year? He made it clear he was “closer to the end than the beginning”.

      I just wish he’d stay and try to get our crown back. But maybe he doesn’t think it’s worth trying or there’s other stuff going on he’d rather not put up with.

      THANKS A LOT, MOU.

    2. We can’t blame, Mou. Admittedly, he has not made Pep’s life easier and he never actively sought out confrontation with Mourinho. But, as euler notes, Pep knows this way of life better than any. Top level sport is not a nice place. He will know that if he can’t cope with waking up to battle the Mourinhos of this world then he will not be carrying out his responsibilities properly. Moreover, Mourinho has if anything toned things down as the season has gone on, as he’s grown more comfortable himself. Standard barbs but no more.

      Whatever the reasons, Pep’s always gone acted on his “feeling”. Well, it’s sounding very much like this time his feeling is saying that time’s up.

    3. Pretty sure Mou toned down as EE inched further away from Barca at the top of the table. Once it became CL season again and he had to see us beat Milan and potentially face a Clasico final, he was back to being Mou.

  36. Question that can’t be answered:
    What was the impact of the uncertainty on the players for these past months?

    Question that will be answered soon:
    What will be the impact the announcement will have on the players for the rest of the season?

    Near-term question:
    What will be the impact of G’s leaving on the core squad and the up and coming canteranos?

    QUESTION OF OVERIDING IMPORTANCE:
    What will the impact be on the club if there is not a personality as strong as Pep’s to fight for sanity against the board and president?

    BTW, I’d love Bielsa, but he’s got something special started in Bilbao. I’d hate for them to lose him.

    1. I love Athletic as much as the next Cule, them being our brothers in arms and all, but screw Athletic. We need the best coach for our needs no matter what team has to suffer for us to have him.

    2. FWIW, Guillem Balague says that Pep has told the club he wants to leave and that Rosell has told him to sleep on it. So there you go.

  37. All of this points to an exit in my opinion, which is fine, the fairytale can’t go on forever. Pep will leave a legend, and rightfully so. Kxevin is right, he owes us nothing and we owe him everything.

    So other options? I think top of my list is Bielsa, who could very well leave after bringing Bilbao very close to a Europa League final. Pep has said himself Bielsa was a huge inspiration, has the Argentinian connection with Messi, is a strong supporter of “total football,” and could bring some interesting players along with him (Llorente, Munian, Javi Martinez). Watching Bilbao this year when they are “on” is quite amazing. Oh, and there is that copa del rey final coming up, where Rosell I’m sure would be happy to chat beforehand. Obviously, I’m merely speculating here but I think it could work.

  38. This must be an incredibly difficult choice, with many factors. After all the Mister has done, and what he has proven again and again, you have to respect the choice whichever way he goes, he has earned that much (and more). From my perspective we are at a very pivotal and intersting point.
    I can only imagine how the combination of passion for the club, born from his personal history, the obvious but somewhat detached (because you need to stay somewhat objective and make decisions) affection for the players, the current political landscape of the club, going out on a high, or recognizing that perhaps your moment has passed, which happens, you can overstay and do too much of a good thing… I would say for someone who appears as passionate and committed as Guardiola, this must be agonizing. Whatever he chooses, we have already been through what will always be “legendary times” for the club. Kudos to all those who always remind us don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

    I was out of the country (from US) and caught the Semi in an English pub (outnumbered) and I have to tell you, that there was that moment in the match after Leo missed the PK where I personally felt a little ability to exhale and say, wow, look what they’ve done. I felt a little resolved and sentimental. The mental and physical fatigue, Xavi obviously playing through pain (I think Messi too), the continuous chain of injuries and the illnesses… And we were still there standing up at the end, making the attack, taking the fight forward, giving every last drop from an near empty tank, and stretching the opponents to their limits. It was profound to me, that through it all, they were fighting and finding a way… And but for a few inches here or seconds there, they almost did it again. How I was pulling for them really struck me. You can be disppointed, but angry at them?, or cynical?, or highly critical? – unfair. It made me think of family. You can only attribute all of this to one human emotion, love… For the club, for the game, for each other on the pitch, for the fans. Tides turn and there is an inevitability about passing in all things, everything is fleeting. I don’t think it’s the end of an era in any way shape or form. That could only mean we don’t know what we’re watching with this particular team and that is a labor of love, and there are some amazing stewards of that labor, and always some threats to it. I would trust this particular generation to be building the next chapter or cycle of this journey before our very eyes while they keep on keeping on and we just aren’t able to see it. No one can, but the potential is there! Who’s passion and history and ideas on the pitch becomes the next most uncontainable influence on the project as a whole?, we might be watching a future coach, or president, and not even know it, and one day, we can look back and say this round of unstoppable awesomeness was born out of the last, just like when a “insignificant” ball boy aspired to play in the Camp Nou, and he did, and he came back as a coach and brought brilliant ideas from his experience to reality and incredibly talented players whose contracts were signed on a napkin because someone believed in him when others weren’t sure mesmerized us, …like someone before, and like someone surely will again after, and so it goes. I think it is happening before our eyes. You have to trust, and work for it, and sometimes… watch and wait, and be proud and entertained to follow such a club. There’s more to come, and it’s can’t be far away…maybe next year 😉 Visca Barca.

  39. The situation is somewhat similar to “Lebron James’ Decision.” Except this case is created by fans and the media.

    Tomorrow, I hope Pep will say, “I’m going to keep my talent at Barca.” Just to troll us all 🙂

  40. Anybody remember back in the Offside days, the “Huh?” “What” reactions when Guardiola was named? My, how far things have come. I just don’t know that RoSELL has the courage to make that kind of a choice, should such a thing become necessary.

    1. As long as their “Huh?” “What” choice this time isn’t like the Lakers (not that I am a Lakers fan) picking Mike Brown I’ll be happy.

    1. this is probably really random but for some reason i always thought you were a male lol

    1. i think these many missed chances are not only down to luck – clearly players were tired physically and mentally.

      it is not just to some previous games, to a hard season with many hard games and so on. it is the whole 4 years…

      of course, coming into this season we were less then perfect prepared and in many games signs of players tiredness were there. i dont know how come it all become evident in these crucial games. i would have never imagined that we would loose all. some edge was missing. like we managed to find somewhere in the second part of the season. we finished our fuel right before the finish line.

      otherwise hard to explain how we lost the qualification from that 2-0… what a difference … so many regrets… and now i wonder if it isn’t for these last games that have made Pep edge towards leaving us… I always felt that through his strategy he tried to avoid Cruyff’s mistakes in his last seasons… maybe he thinks that that point has been reached? 🙁

      sad about this. i always felt that he will continue. that this was just a strategy to keep the team and himself focused.. some form of pre-commitment … and i thought that we had amazing things to learn from such a season and that this was achievable through his continuation… but maybe in the end other things mattered more. maybe players aren’t there. the same commitment isn’t there? maybe they are more interested in their off the field new fame? maybe, just maybe, he FELT he could not get the same commitment from his players? maybe he FELT is better for the club with a new coach?

      I don’t know what to say… Until a few hours ago i was so sure he will continue… bloody press made me really unsure now. these great years… i think he must stay, but hey what do I know? he has a better image of hos things go…

      I still feel he will continue. There is a clear risk in the next season of discovering/ not being able to motivate his players and he may wish to simply quit now. for the good of the club. If this is so than we should support his choice. My view so far is that there is still magic there..team still ticks …players still smile… Cesc still has a dream to fulfill…that he can still engineer another successful year. But I may trust him knowing more than me.

      finally, I also trust our club to continue our team to develop under a new coach. I like Bielsa .. and his quote from today:

      “The game yesterday [at Camp Nou] indicates that attacking football has nuances. But styles cannot be changed.

      “Even if the best team doesn’t always win, the best way of winning is always by trying to be the best.”

      p.s. How amazing was Camp Nou singing after Torres goal?! never ever since Judas return was the stadium so united…

      the idea of Pep leaving… starting to feel like I am loosing something…a deep love..

      🙁

  41. Obviously players and coaches come and go and the club will always survive but I think we’ll never have a trainer with as much class or human conduct as Pep.Of course having been the best coach, he’ll next go on to try to surpass Laporta as best President and we can only look forward in anticipation to when that time comes.

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