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Sports"It's a closed door" - Pep on return to Barcelona

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“It’s a closed door” – Pep on return to Barcelona

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has firmly ruled out the possibility of returning to Barcelona at any point in the future.

Guardiola, whose contract with City ends in June 2025, previously hinted in May that the upcoming season might be his last at the Etihad.

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When asked on Monday about the potential of a return to Barça, where he guided the club to 14 honours during his four seasons in charge, Guardiola stated, “It’s a door that is closed.”

The 53-year-old made these remarks during a press conference at his annual golf tournament, the Legends Trophy, currently underway in Girona, Spain.

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“The Barça bench is one of the most complicated because you have to manage many cases. In Manchester everything we do remains inside and at Barça, everything comes out,” he said.

The ex-Barça player guided City to a historic fourth consecutive Premier League title, following a remarkable season that also saw his team achieve a historic treble.

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Meanwhile, Barça concluded the 2023–24 season without any silverware and opted for Hansi Flick as the successor to Xavi Hernández in May. Xavi’s tenure ended at the end of the season as the club sought a new direction.

Xavi assumed leadership of the Spanish team in November 2021 and frequently drew comparisons to Guardiola.

Guardiola said of those comparisons: “What is certain is that it’s not my fault. That’s for sure. I’ve been 11 or 12 years away from Barcelona. I’m not a suspect in that sense. Ask that to those who have made the comparisons, I haven’t. I wish Xavi the best in finding a new challenge.”

Regarding Xavi’s replacement, Guardiola expressed confidence in Barça’s choice. Flick, who had been without a job since September 2023 following his dismissal from the Germany national team, previously enjoyed significant success at Bayern Munich.

Flick secured the Champions League as part of a treble in 2020 before transitioning to the Germany national team role in the summer of 2021.

“I wish him the best of luck in the world,” Guardiola said.

“When you arrive at a new club, you always need help. You have to try to get help from within and have total support. You have to go little by little. You can’t be a champion in September or October.

“Hansi is an extraordinary person who has a lot of desire. A lot. But he needs his time. What he did at Bayern was extraordinary; he won everything.”

Barça finished runners-up to Real Madrid in La Liga, with their rivals adding France star Kylian Mbappé to their already strong roster.

“With or without Mbappé, they are always strong,” Guardiola said.

“It’s the rival to beat in the Champions [League], without a doubt. Everyone knows that. For all of us that are behind them, it’s motivation to try to beat them.

Madrid has always been very strong and they are adding up front a player that has a lot of strength.”

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