Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has spoken about whether he will return to manage former club Barcelona as he enters his final two years with the Premier League champions.
The Spaniard became the first manager in England to win all four domestic trophies last season, as he lifted back-to-back Premier League and Carabao Cup titles and added the FA Cup and Community Shield to his illustrious managerial achievements.
Pep Guardiola is still to win Manchester City’s first-ever Champions League title, and he will look to make headway in the competition next season. The 48-year old has been a Champions League winner twice in his four-year spell at Barcelona and also won the La Liga on three occasions.
In an interview with Catalan publication Ara, Guardiola talked about the demanding nature of the Champions League and revealed why he changed Lionel Messi’s position.
“The Champions League is very demanding. The defensive involvement in Europe is very large. That is one of the reasons I played Leo through the middle. I didn’t want Leo to experience the physical wear and tear, so he could express his talent in the last 20 metres of the pitch”, he said.
“But at the Camp Nou against Liverpool he ran like a beast. If they had reached the Champions League final, they would have won”, Guardiola claimed.
Guardiola also reaffirmed his commitment to Manchester City, ruling out a return to Spain to manage Lionel Messi and Barcelona again.
“I have everything here, sincerely, everything I need,” Guardiola said of City. “Work at home [in Spain] is more wearing because the emotions are so intense and the press conferences harder.”
“I extended my contract because we have a young team, I have everything I desire to do my job. I won’t go back here [to Barcelona] or Germany”, he added. “Where can I find facilities so good as in such a beautiful league as the Premier League?”
“Neymar is an extraordinary player,” Guardiola stated. “But I don’t know. It’s like if I go back to Barcelona, I am not the same person, and I don’t know if Neymar would be the same. Well, he is great, nobody doubts it.”
Pep Guardiola is currently preparing for Manchester City’s pre-season tour which kicks off against West Ham United at the Premier League Asia Trophy in China. The English champions begin their competitive season with a Community Shield final against last year’s runners-up Liverpool.