Thursday, 1 May 2008

Guardiola backed by board but not by fans

Although Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain said yesterday in an interview with the official club television channel Barça TV that Rijkaard has done "an extraordinary job" in the last five seasons and that he is "a man of the club", it seems almost certain that current Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard (45) will leave the club at the end of the season after the Chamions League elimination on Wednesday. This has been confirmed today by Jil van Eyle, a personal assistant of Rijkaard, on his Teaming blog. Which means that the final discussion on his successor is breaking loose.

All media seem to agree that Barcelona B manager Josep Guardiola (37) is being backed by the majority of the Barcelona board. Guardiola knows the club inside out and stands for an attacking, dominant way of playing. The former Barcelona captain has the strong support of Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain and Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

Madrid sports tabloid As even claims that Guardiola is already planning for next season under the supervision of Begiristain and is composing the new squad together with former Barcelona player Luis Enrique (37) and José Ramón Alexanko (51), the head of the Barcelona youth academy, who would act as his assistants.

The board is nevertheless divided on the issue and it is expected that the debate could be reopened in the coming days. Some board members believe that former Chelsea manager José Mourinho (45) is the best candidate to replace Rijkaard because he would bring organization and a strong hand to the team. They would now try to put the name of the Portuguese back on the table during a board meeting on Thursday, one day after the match against Real Madrid.

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that a third candidate is Villareal manager Manuel Pellegrini (54) cause of his experience, his handling of the Riquelme case and his choice for quality play. The paper estimates that the chances of Guardiola to become the next Barcelona manager are 50 per cent, the chances of Mourinho 30 and those of Pellegrini 20.

An opinion poll by Catalan television channel TV3 meanwhile indicates that around 80 per cent of the Barcelona fans would not support the choice of Guardiola. Catalan sports paper Sport says that the club itself is monitoring all kinds of polls to know the opinion of the fans. Mourinho is generally having a wide lead on all other candidates. Former Barcelona player and manager Carles Rexach supports Guardiola but thinks that the board has put his name out there to know the opinion of the fans and the press before they make a final decision.

As claims that the results of several polls have made Guardiola doubt if he should accept the job or not. El Mundo Deportivo says that Guardiola would have preferred another season with little pressure but that he could not say ‘no’ if the formal offer comes. Francesc Aguilar, sub director of El Mundo Deportivo, relaunched today the idea of making Guardiola the assistant of Mourinho.

Read more:
The race to the bench
Board member leaked Guardiola preference
Principal agreement with Mourinho


Anonymous said...

Maurinho would be an awesome choice for manager! he's excellent and has a great impact on teams as did Franky but if they're looking for someone new, I'd say Maurinho is the way to go and Guardiola can be an assistant but I don't think he's ready for Barca's A team! Maurinho has coached a not that great team of Chelsea into being a very DOMINANT club in EPL, who are feared by most. They're that way because of him so hopefully we get him at Barcelona and he helps the Attacking side of our club!

nozbleed said...

Totally agree with nickr. Mourinho didn't just make a team very dominant, he also represent the team with his style and character wich is suitable for a big club like Barca. He makes it more than a club!!
Més que un club.

Anonymous said...

I go with Mourinho too. Let's see if the board will push their opinion through against the will of the fans...

Anonymous said...

Only Mourinho can sort out the mess in Barcelona!

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