Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed that he will leave the club in 2023 to have a rest after seven years as head coach and fulfill his ambition of managing a national team.
The Catalan has enjoyed a hugely successful tenure at the Etihad since 2016, winning Premier League titles, six other domestic trophies and reaching the Champions League final in May.
Yet with his contract expiring in two years' time, the 50-year-old is looking to recharge and pursue different challenges.
"Next step will be a national team, if there is a possibility. A national team is the next step," he told an XP Investments event, as reported by ESPN on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola will 'need a break' when his Manchester City contract expires in 2023 and says 'international football is the next step' 👀 pic.twitter.com/i382RfYRTk— Goal (@goal) August 25, 2021
"After seven years on this team, I think I’m going to have a stop. I’m going to have to take a break, see what we’ve done.
"And in the process, I would like to train a South American [team], European [national side], playing a Copa América – I want to have that experience."
Guardiola famously took a 12-month sabbatical in New York following his exit from managing boyhood club Barcelona in 2012, when he learned English and German before joining Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in 2013.
Pep Guardiola on his future: "A national team will be the next step, yes. It's the next step. [On Brazil] I believe that the coach of the Brazilian team will always be Brazilian, I don't see a foreigner in teams like Brazil..." [via @ESPNBrasil]— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) August 25, 2021
Speaking in front of Brazilian businessmen, Guardiola was probed on the possibility leading Brazil.
One of the midfielders key to the tiki-taka style he employed at Barcelona, Xavi Hernandez, was reportedly offered the chance to work alongside current Selecao coach Tite on the road to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, for which the Al-Sadd boss is an ambassador – although Guardiola is not convinced he will ever have a chance to lead the set-up.
"They are a fantastic team," Guardiola said of the five-time World Cup winners. "I've already worked with some of their players and competed against others.
"A fantastic national team, Brazil is always a strong candidate or the favorite [for trophies]. Always has been and always will be."
Guardiola added that the Brazilian FA and the bosses of other "important national teams" will probably never to hire a foreigner for the role.
Pep Guardiola in charge of England national team for euros 2024 who says no— Matt🦊 (@lcfcmatt) August 26, 2021
Mourinho came to England and retired Sir Alex Ferguson.— King (@King_mufasa347) August 25, 2021
Thomas Tuchel is in England and retiring pep Guardiola.
Guardiola is perhaps unlikely to manage Spain due to his pride as a staunch Catalan, leaving the door potentially open to continuing his residence in England beyond 2023 – only this time as Three Lions chief.
Some fans responded by claiming that Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, who had the better of his opposite number when City and Chelsea met in last season's Champions League final, has run Guardiola "out of England".
Others drew parallels with the way Jose Mourinho supposedly "retired" legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after joining Roman Abramovich's Chelsea in 2004.
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