Following Bayern Munich's elimination from this season's Champions League semi-finals at the hands of Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola has raised doubts over his future as manager of the Bundesliga champions.
Matthias Muller of German newspaper BILD (h/t FIFA's Alex Stone) quotes Guardiola saying it's up to the club as to whether he's the right man to lead Der FCB after their disappointing fall from defending their European title:
Losing to Carlo Ancelotti's men at the penultimate stage of the tournament is no shameful thing, but the club's 4-0 drubbing at home to Los Merengues in Tuesday's second leg was a more exposing display of some flaws in the side.
Eurosport provides more detail from the Spaniard's Friday press conference, with Guardiola stating that even in the wake of this embarrassment, he will be unbending in his beliefs and tactical ideologies:
I'm open to new ideas. I know the quality of the whole squad and I've adapted to them. I have my ideas as a coach and that's how my team will play. I must convince the players and coach them that way.
Next season, we will play 100% with my ideas. I can't coach this club or its players without believing in my ideas. Our system has been excellent with the current squad. After the season, we'll discuss strengthening if we need to.
After the Real Madrid, I'm even more convinced by my system. We didn't play properly with the ball.
From his days as a player at Barcelona until ascending to the role of manager at the Camp Nou, possession-based football has always been an inherent trait in Guardiola's game, a style that's ingrained in the way he's gone about his illustrious work.
Ancelotti's powerful Real showed there is weakness in this Bayern team, something that didn't seem apparent under Jupp Heynckes last season, where the club won everything in sight: the Champions League, Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, DFL-Supercup and FIFA Club World Cup.
However, Heynckes is a man with 50 years of playing and managing experience under his belt, the vast majority of which has been spent in Germany. Guardiola is just 43 years of age, has won the German league title in record time and is through to the final of the DFB-Pokal, all in his maiden term in a new league with a new squad and adapting to new surroundings.
Guardiola's success in Barcelona—he won three La Liga titles, two Champions League crowns, a couple of Copa del Rey trophies, two FIFA Club World Cups and more—makes him a unique talent.
And as Squawka's Jack Watson points out, it may not have been mere luck that such a star-studded cast thrived as they did under the tactician:
Just as one big triumph doesn't make a superstar, one dire loss does not warrant widespread outrage.
There's no doubt that Guardiola will learn from the Real Madrid defeat, and Bayern may have been too expectant if they were hoping for the manager to take over from Heynckes with an identical level of success.
His demand in not shifting style is a strong statement of self-belief, too. After all, would Der FCB want a man with morals any weaker leading them through what, by their stellar standards, could be described as a rough patch?
Guardiola has laid his cards on the table, asking that his employers support him in his endeavours, irrespective of their most recent disappointment.