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04th Jan 2017

Pep Guardiola’s former manager tips him to return to Barcelona

He's hardly been in England for six months


Five games deep into his Manchester City career, Pep Guardiola was, according to the press, the best manager going.

Arriving with an impressive CV at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, his City side were conquering all before them during Pep’s early weeks at the Etihad. Even farming fan favourite Joe Hart out to Italy for a season wasn’t changing anyone’s mind. Seemingly, he could do no wrong.

Fast forward a few weeks and, as is often the case with this sort of thing, a few poor results for City have seen the press alter their opinions of Pep. All of a sudden, there are questions about how good this City side really are. There are doubts about whether swapping Hart for Claudio Bravo was a good decision. There’s even some suggestions that Pep needs to have a good look at his side’s disciplinary record.

Although City won their last Premier League outing against Barnsley Burnley, Pep’s post-match interview with the BBC made it clear that he wasn’t too happy with the way things were going. There are also reports – since disputed – that he told NBC that his coaching career was nearing its end.

Although there’s absolutely no suggestion that Pep is thinking about calling time on life in Manchester before the end of his three-year deal with City, talk of what he will do next has already started to surface.

One of those who thinks he has an idea of what the 45-year-old has in store next is Fabio Capello, who managed Guardiola at Roma in the 2002/2003 season. The former England boss believes that a return to Barcelona is on the cards for Guardiola, who he believes will one day become the Spanish champions’ President.

“Guardiola’s football is fundamentally always the same and if the opponents figure out counter-measures, he has to find an alternative,” Capello told Sky Italy.

“In any case, I think if he made these statements [to NBC], it is also because in my view he has the idea of becoming President of Barcelona.”

Barely six months in to his contract with City, talk of a move back to Barcelona is perhaps a little premature, although hopes of finishing his first year in England with silverware appear to be diminishing slightly. City are currently seven points adrift of Chelsea (10 if Antonio Conte’s men beat Spurs on Wednesday night) in the Premier League and are out of the League Cup.

Their FA Cup campaign begins at West Ham this weekend before they resume their Champions League adventure against Monaco in late February.