Guardiola to quit Barcelona

Reports in Spain say Pep Guardiola has told Barcelona he will leave the club at the end of the season.

The Barcelona boss has guided the Catalan giants to two UEFA Champions League titles in his four seasons with the club as well as a host of other trophies.

But the former Barca star’s future has been a source of constant speculation for months and the 41-year-old is understood to have finally confirmed he intends to bring his time at the club to an end.

A joint press conference will be held by Guardiola and Barcelona president Sandro Rosell on Friday morning at 11am.

Rosell, who has met with Guardiola at length in the last 24 hours, remains hopeful that he may yet have a change of heart and opt to remain at the helm.

The decision follows Barcelona’s sensational exit from the Champions League at the hands of Chelseain Tuesday’s semi-final.

Guardiola’s potential arrival in England would raise the possibility of some of Barcelona’s famous players linking up with him in the Premier League.

The four managers that have been earmarked are believed to include Athletic Bilbao’s maverick Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa and ex-Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas.

The two names making up the list of candidates are both former Barcelona players – France boss Laurent Blanc and Ernesto Valverde, who quit as Olympiakos manager last week.

A further possibility could be another former team-mate of Guardiola’s, Roma boss Luis Enrique.

The 41-year-old spent eight years with the club as a player and three years coaching the B team before leaving for Italy last summer.

The options are believed to have already been lined up as a contingency plan should Guardiola decide upon a sabbatical.