Guardiola casts doubt over long-term Manchester City future

AFP , Monday 20 May 2024

Pep Guardiola cast doubt over his long-term future at Manchester City on Sunday after winning a historic fourth straight Premier League title, admitting it is difficult to find motivation after so much sustained success.

Manchester City s head coach Pep Guardiola celebrates at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England. AFP

City's 3-1 victory against West Ham sealed a sixth top-flight title in seven seasons under the Catalan, who has taken the club to extraordinary new levels since he arrived in 2016.

His tally is exceeded only by Alex Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles during his long reign at Manchester United.

In 2019 City became the first club to win the domestic treble of Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup in the same season and last year they emulated Manchester United's class of 1999 in winning the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, which they lifted for the first time.

City are now the first side in English top-flight history to win four titles in a row -- surpassing the achievements of the great Liverpool and Manchester United teams from previous eras.

And next week they will attempt to become the first English side to win back to back domestic doubles when they take on United at Wembley in the FA Cup final.

Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Guardiola, 53, has a contract at the Etihad until the end of next season but his future after that is unclear.

"The reality is I'm closer to leaving than to staying," Guardiola told Sky Sports. "It's eight years, will be nine.

"Right now my feeling is I want to stay next season. We talked with the club, we have time to talk next season because I have to see the players as well (to see) if they follow me, they follow us, for many reasons. I will stay and during the season we will talk when calm."

Asked at his post-match press conference whether he felt as though he had "completed English football" and what he felt was left to achieve, Guardiola shrugged his shoulders and said: "I had that feeling last season.

"When we won in Istanbul (in the Champions League final) I said, 'It's over, what am I doing here? It's over, there's nothing left'.

"But I have a contract, I'm here and still enjoying. Some of the moments I'm a bit tired but some of the moments I love, and after I said 'OK, we are here'.

"We start winning games, playing good, different players, new players and I start to think about 'No one has done four in a row, why don't we try?' And now I feel 'It's done, so what next?' I don't know right now."

He added: "Next season, right now, I'm not able to know exactly what will be the motivation to do it because it's difficult sometimes to find it when everything is done."

Guardiola said for now he was enjoying basking in the glow of another Premier League triumph.

"When I moved here if someone had said I would win six leagues in seven seasons I would say you're insane -- no way," he said.

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