Guardiola hopes to manage in England
Soccer:Pep Guardiola has set out why he wants to manage in the Premier League after returning from his sabbatical next season, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all monitoring his position and the former Barcelona coach speaking publicly for the first time about what attracts him to English football.
“I’ve always found English football very fascinating, for the environment, the crowd and the supporters,” Guardiola said. “In Italy, Latin people will support you when you are playing and when you lose, they kill you. In England I’m always surprised that people always support everything and that is nice. That’s why, maybe, I hope to have the challenge or the opportunity to train there.
“As a player, I couldn’t realise my dream to play there. But I hope in the future I have a challenge to be a coach or a manager there and feel the experience of all the coaches and players that have been there. I want to feel the supporters, the environment, the media and the style of the players and everything. I am still young, just 41, so I hope in the future I could be able to train there and enjoy that.”
Guardiola was speaking ahead of the FA’s 150th anniversary commemorations in London today, fully aware of the interest in him from the Premier League. Roman Abramovich has made it a near-obsession to bring Guardiola to Chelsea, pointedly handing Rafael Benitez the title of “interim manager” after giving him a contract to the end of the season.
United, meanwhile, have Guardiola at the top of their list to replace Sir Alex Ferguson when the long-serving manager retires, and there is also the chance that City will try to bring him in at the end of the season. Ferran Soriano, City’s chief executive, and his right-hand man, the director of football, Txiki Begiristain, were at Camp Nou with Guardiola and, if the Catalan club are to be believed, seem determined to bring together more former Barcelona employees to help City’s transition.
Sandro Rosell, Barcelona’s president, told the Catalan radio station RAC1 yesterday: “There have been some offensive approaches from City, at all levels of the club, but no one wants to go. They wanted to fish here but there were no fish left.”