Wed, Jan 09, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Former Barcelona manager mulling return to coaching

AFP, ZURICH, Switzerland

Former Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola speaks during a press conference at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala in Zurich, Switzerland, on Monday.

Photo: EPA

Former Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola, currently on a one-year sabbatical, said on Monday he was already thinking about a return to coaching, but stressed he did not know at which club.

“I want to coach,” said Guardiola, who left the Camp Nou last summer. “I’m young, I’m only 41 years old. Now I have another type of life, a type of life that I wanted to have at this moment, that’s it.”

“I don’t have a team to go to, but yes, I’d like to return to coaching. I have taken a decision to return to coaching, but beyond that no decision has been taken,” he added.

Guardiola’s name has been linked with jobs at a raft of top flight clubs and countries after his decision to step down as coach of Barcelona after four years in charge in which he delivered 14 trophies, including two Champions League titles.

However, he played down any link to either German giants Bayern Munich or Brazil, hosts of the 2014 World Cup.

“Bayern have a coach by the name of Jupp Heynckes. It would be disrespectful on my part to speak with a club that currently has a coach,” he said, then turning to Brazil, where his name was evoked after the departure of Mano Menezes.

“It’s an honor that they spoke of me, but Brazil has great coaches. For example, the one they chose, [Luiz Felipe] Scolari,” he said.

“I’m grateful to the Brazilian fans,” he said, adding that he thought it best if a national team was managed by someone from that country.

“Pep”, as he is known, added that he felt pride at watching the team he once coached, now overseen by his long-time assistant Tito Vilanova.

“I love coming to see Barcelona play. To see them play is a great show,” said Guardiola, who was speaking here ahead of the Ballon d’Or ceremony.

“I was lucky enough to have been with the team for a few years, and I’m delighted that everything’s continuing as normal or even better,” he said.

“I feel happy that a club is admired and respected for its game,” he said, adding that he now followed soccer as a “television fan” from his US base.

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