Pep Guardiola issues sabbatical statement on Man City future after fresh Juventus rumours

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The Daily Star claimed on Wednesday that there was a possibility Pep Guardiola could end his Manchester City tenure after the climax of the upcoming 2019-20 campaign, were they to win the Champions League for the first time.

The Catalan coach has regularly spoken of his desire to win the European Cup with City, whose only European glory was the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970, and the 48-year-old himself having been questioned for not winning the competition in his time at Bayern Munich.

Guardiola has not won the Champions League since 2011, when he was at Barcelona, and has failed to get to another final since then with City yet to progress past the quarter-final stage in his three years at the Etihad Stadium.

But the manager has overseen unprecedented level of success domestically at City, with his side racking up 198 points over the past two seasons while winning back-to-back titles.

The Citizens saw off the challenge of Liverpool in 2018-19, amassing 98 points while the Reds ended on 97 in order to become the first team to retain their Premier League crown in a decade.

In addition, City also won the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup to become the first English men’s team ever to win the domestic treble just 12 months after making history by becoming the first team to reach 100 points in the league.

As a result of his success in Manchester, since the end of last season, Guardiola has been repeatedly linked to the Juventus job.

Max Allegri has left the Serie A giants after five years in charge and while Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is the man tipped to replace his fellow Italian, Guardiola’s name has also regularly popped up in the running for the role.

Eurosport France report that Guardiola was offered a deal that would pay him over €20million (£17.8m) per year, with his current annual salary at City understood to be earning him around £15m, although the boss rejected it and has publicly affirmed his commitment to his current club.

The Daily Star, meanwhile, claimed the manager was already looking towards a break in the game despite having two years left on his contract in England and with City reportedly keen to offer him the chance to extend his terms.

In response to those reports, Guardiola said while competing at the Costa Brava Legends Trophy – a golf tournament held in Girona: “I do not take a sabbatical. 

“The news comes out, is repeated and is not checked. I have two years of contract and, if they do not kick me out, I will continue.”

Guardiola also repeated his ambition to win the Champions League, with Man City’s best attempt at doing so thus far having seen them get to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Real Madrid under Manuel Pellegrini in 2015-16.

In the last two years, City have lost to Liverpool – who ended up as runners-up to Real Madrid in 2018 – and Tottenham, with Spurs going on to lose to Liverpool in the most recent final in Madrid earlier this month.

Guardiola added: “We all want to win the Champions League because it is the most beautiful thing. The important thing is to try again and in our case we will do it again.

“If we fail, we will try again, as the important thing is to be there until the end.”

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