Guardiola leaves Barcelona

27 April, 2012

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will leave at the end of this season after deciding not to extend his contract.

Guardiola's assistant coach Tito Vilanova will take over next season.

"Pep Guardiola will not continue as coach next season," Barca president Sandro Rosell told a news conference.

"Thank you for your work and your love."

Guardiola, who wants to recharge his batteries, added: "I'm sorry for the confusion in recent weeks. I've always wanted short contracts because the demands at Barcelona are so big.

"Now we were out of the two main competitions, it was a good time to announce it.

"The reason is simple. Four years, that gets everyone tired. The new coach will give things that I can't give anymore."

The 41-year-old former midfielder has enjoyed a hugely successful stint at the helm of the Catalan club, winning 13 trophies in four seasons while playing a style of football that has been widely acclaimed as the best in the world.

He has preferred to renew his Barca contract on an annual basis and waited until February 8 last year before agreeing a new deal.

He then went on to capture a third consecutive Liga title and a second Champions League crown, as well as the Spanish and European Super Cups and the Club world cup. Their success built on ball retention with team's fortunate to enjoy 30 percent of possession against them.

But Barca were knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea 3-2 on aggregate in their semi-final on Tuesday.

That followed a 2-1 home loss to arch rivals Real Madrid on Saturday that meant they are likely to miss out on a fourth straight Liga title.

Barca have a chance to claim more silverware this season in the Copa del Rey and play Athletic Bilbao in next month's final.