Pep Guardiola Leaves Barcelona: 5 Other Jobs He Could Now Get in Football
It may have come as a huge shock to most when Pep Guardiola announced that he would be leaving at the end of the season.
But to those close to him, maybe the only surprise was the timing of the announcement.
The Spaniard has always suggested that four years is an eternity to be manager at any one club. Whether Barcelona won the treble this season or ultimately finish with nothing, it can now be assumed Guadiola's decision had already been made regardless.
What it does mean is that the most desirable manager in world football is now available.
Whether he takes a year out or returns after a long holiday, Guardiola will not be out of work for long and the clever money is on a trip to England.
Here are five possible destinations for the soon-to-be free agent.
5) Manchester United 8/1
The most successful manager in British football history, Sir Alex Ferguson needs no introduction.
His record speaks for itself and the person who eventually succeeds the Scotsman will have some huge shoes to fill.
United had a massive game against Manchester City on Monday night. If they were to lose that and then, subsequently, the Premier League title, it may well speed up the hunt for a new manager.
Sir Alex is a big admirer of Guardiola and what he has achieved at Barcelona. He was uncharacteristically humble after last season's Champions League final and lauded praise on the opposition and manager.
Ferguson will no doubt decide his own future but if Guardiola sticks to his promise of taking a year out of the game, the Spaniard could well be in line to take over at Old Trafford for the 2013/14 season.
4) Manchester City 11/2
Maybe the more likely destination in Manchester, especially if Sir Alex Ferguson stays on indefinitely.
Manchester City is probably a more realistic destination for Guardiola. The Abu Dhabi Group have given Roberto Mancini a blank cheque to sign some of the most exciting players in the world.
Unfortunately for City, the success has not been what one would have hoped.
Getting knocked out of the Champions League, Europa League, Carling Cup and the FA Cup has been incredibly frustrating after such a promising start to the season.
Their must win showdown with Manchester United on Monday could be make or break for Mancini's tenure as City boss especially with someone like Guardiola on the market.
City would almost certainly make Guardiola the highest paid manager in the world and with an endless transfer kitty to supplement the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero, the combination could be sensational.
3) England 4/1
Fabio Capello's shock resignation in February after the John Terry saga threw England's final preparations for Euro 2012 into chaos.
The FA will have been confident of naming a successor by now but that has not materialised.
Harry Redknapp has not been as forthright as first thought while Stuart Pearce is still expected to oversee the Great Britain Olympic squad.
Discussions of naming a potential interim manager for the tournament are still prevalent while leaving the naming of a long term successor open for the foreseeable future.
The England job is still one of the most prestigious in football and with Guardiola needing a break from football, what better way than to take a less demanding international job.
2) Arsenal 3/1
Arsene Wenger's contract is up in 2014. He has been one of the most loyal and successful managers ever to have graced English football.
He has turned down countless lucrative offers elsewhere because of his love of the club and belief in the brand of football the team plays.
Arsenal's style is without doubt the closest to Barcelona's and with both Wenger and Guardiola's cut from the same cloth, it would be a very smooth transition to bring in the Spaniard.
With all due respect to Manchester, Guardiola would probably make an easier transition from Catalonia to London.
If Wenger moves upstairs to become Director of Football, the potential relationship with Guardiola would be one that every other club in the word would envy.
1) Chelsea 5/2
Sometimes football works in mysterious ways.
It is a distinct possibility that the club who put the final nail in the coffin for the Spaniard could well be his next managerial destination.
Chelsea craves success, and although the players have done incredibly well in reaching the Champions League final, they will start as huge underdogs against Bayern Munich on their home ground.
Roberto Di Matteo has done a magnificent job in turning Chelsea around since the sacking of Andre Villas Boas last month. He has united the players, improved morale and produced eye catching performances—none more so than the stunning result at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
But the fact is Chelsea do not have a manager, Di Matteo is the interim coach but nothing more at this present time.
If Guardiola does indeed take a one year sabbatical, don't be surprised if Di Matteo keeps the seat warm for the ex-Barcelona boss.
Roman Abramovic is desperate to get the very best and in Pep Guardiola, the Russian may just have his man.