After bringing a team to unfounded levels of success through the last four years, Josep Pep Guardiola will step down as FC Barcelona boss at the end of the season when his contract expires in just a few weeks. Pep’s decision comes after one of the most impressive streaks of titles in modern history, including last year’s UEFA Champions League title over Manchester United.
Barcelona fans around the world are likely bummed to see him go, as many club patrons hoped to retain him as a Sir Alex Ferguson, life-long championship coach. His assistant, Tito Vilanova, will succeed him temporarily. The decision comes as a shock to many, whether fans of Barca or not. Pep’s last four years have brought the very capable club into the spotlight and then some, which likens his step-down to a head of state not running for reelection he would surely win in a landslide.
A lot of speculation arose when Chelsea fired Andre Villas Boas midway through the season, that they might solicit the 41-year-old. Other rumors have surfaced that the Milan teams is seeking Guardiola, but Pep seems to need a break.
After winning three La Liga titles in four years, along with two UEFA Champions League titles, Pep has done more than bring an extraordinarily talented roster to fame. In Spain and Barcelona in particular, where fans seem to own the club and soccer is more than a game, expectations on both the players and the coaches bring stress to enormously high levels.
Though desperate owners from teams lacking the restored order and dynasty that Pep brought to Barcelona will try their best, expect him to take a vacation from coaching. Though he will probably return in the next few years to prove himself as a world-class coach, he explained his need for a break in the immediate future: “I have given everything and I have nothing left and need to recharge my batteries. The demands have been great and I have not been able to rest much. I have to recover and the only way I can do that is by distancing myself. Otherwise, we would have ended up damaging each other.”