Delivering three La Liga titles, two Champions League wins and a host of other trophies during his four-year spell as manager of Barcelona, Pep Guardiola is regarded as one of the most successful managers in the history of the Spanish club.
Guardiola chose to walk away from the job he loved to take a break from the sport in June 2012. The Barcelona legend returned to the game 12 months later to take over at Bayern Munich.
During his spell with the German club, he won the league title in each of the three years he was there. However, he was unable to deliver success in the Champions League during that reign.
His current spell at Manchester City has also been one of a success. His side recently won the EFL Cup at Wembley, Guardiola’s sixth piece of major silverware. Although it is unlikely City will defend their Premier League title this season, they remain on course for a possible treble.
Manchester City were hit with news which shook their football club earlier this year when UEFA announced they had been handed a two-year suspension from the Champions League, due to financial fair play breaches.
That ban comes into effect next season which means City will not be able to compete in Europe’s premier football competition, despite looking likely to qualify in the Premier League table.
Guardiola has stated he will stand by the club during this suspension. His long-term future, however, must now come under doubt as the Champions League is a trophy he will surely want to win again to prove he is the best coach in Europe.
Former Real Betis manager Quique Setien took over at the Nou Camp back in January after Ernesto Valverde was dismissed from the role, the third manager in three years to take up the job with the Spanish champions. The Spaniard has made a good start since picking up the reigns. Barca are top of the table in Spain and are the favourites in the La Liga betting to lift the title this season.
Setien, however, may be judged on how well his team performs in the Champions League. That is a trophy Barca have not won since 2015 and one of his objectives will be to put that right.
Barcelona were looking on course to reach the final of the European competition last season as they led their tie with Liverpool 3-0 after the first leg at the Nou Camp. Unfortunately for the Spanish side, they lost 4-0 at Anfield in the return fixture and went out 4-3 on aggregate.
The door will always be open at Barcelona for Guardiola to return in the future. His record as a player and manager ensures he remains extremely popular with supporters and the directors at the club.
If things don’t work out well for Setien, Barca may do everything in their power to convince Guardiola to have a second spell as their manager. Given he has now experienced football and cultures in other countries, he may not require much persuading.