Barcelona's coach Josep Guardiola gives a press conference in Barcelona on April 27, 2012. Pep Guardiola announced today he is leaving the club at the end of the season, ending a four-year reign over one of the greatest eras in club football. "This is not a very easy situation for me," the 41-year-old Guardiola told a news conference where the club also revealed that his assistant coach Tito Vilanova will take over. – Photo by AFP

Pep Guardiola is expected to take a sabbatical after quitting Barcelona but there are plenty of clubs who would be eager to entice him back to football.

Here are the favourites for his signature.


Inter President Massimo Moratti has long admired and sought Guardiola as his coach after the 2010 European champions fell on tough times following the departure of Jose Mourinho.

Moratti would do everything in his power to capture the smart-suited Catalan and would be prepared to leave interim boss Andrea Stramaccioni in charge for the foreseeable future until Guardiola made his mind up.

Guardiola has affinity with Italy having played at Brescia.


Roberto Di Matteo has been outstanding as Chelsea's caretaker manager, leading them to the FA Cup final and Champions League final by beating Barca in Tuesday's memorable semi-final but reports say Roman Abramovich may have someone else lined up.

If that person is Guardiola then Barca would be left with a sour taste in their mouths but even if there was no agreement, the Russian owner may well now covet the 41-year-old as a better long-term option than Di Matteo, who could continue in the job until Guardiola completes a sabbatical.


Surely a long shot but the odds have tumbled that he would take over either for the European Championship or after the competition.

Stuart Pearce is in temporary charge and may still lead the side to the Euros with favourite Harry Redknapp suddenly suffering a big dip in form with Tottenham Hotspur.

England's long suffering players would certainly look up to Guardiola given his exploits at Barca but he has no connection to English football despite speaking the language well.


City are back in the Premier League title race but should Roberto Mancini fail in his quest, their mega-rich Arab owners may sound out Guardiola about taking over.

Limitless cash could tempt the 41-year-old but rainy northern England is not quite sunny Spain.


Club owner Silvio Berlusconi likes his glamour signings and bringing in Guardiola would appeal to him especially if it put Inter's nose out of joint.

Massimiliano Allegri did well to win Serie A with Milan last term but they look like being beaten to the title by Juventus this season and a bigger name would go down well among some supporters.


If Vicente Del Bosque leads Spain to a successful defence of their Euro title in June and July to go with their World Cup triumph, he could decide to leave, opening the door for Guardiola.

Being Spain boss would not bring the daily pressure of club coaching but Guardiola is a proud Catalan and the national job might not appeal at such a young managerial age.


Guardiola had a spell as a player with Al Ahli in Doha so has contacts in the Gulf state and could be richly rewarded leading either a club side or the national side ahead of their hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

A stress-free time in Qatar in the short-term could bulge his bank balance and then give the Qataris time to see how Carlo Ancelotti does at Pari St Germain which they own.

Paris might then appeal to Guardiola given the immense transfer funds in an easier league and the personal wealth available.


Alex Ferguson will go on and on at Old Trafford but if United were succession-planning they may decide they could look no further than Guardiola, who could be signed up before enjoying a few years out of the game and then returning on Ferguson's retirement.

However, many pundits believe Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho, who knows English football better than Guardiola given his time at Chelsea, has already been lined up.



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