Since Pep Guardiola took charge of the club in 2008, FC Barcelona have seen a historic change in fortune. Football has a short memory, more like a goldfish’s rather than an elephants, so we quite often forget the turmoil that that last year of Frank Ryjkaard’s reign brought the club. Ronaldinho, Deco, the indiscipline and the strife, a third place finish in the league a full ten points behind second place Villarreal and the only year of Joan Laporta's Presidency that the club won no titles. There was talk of abandoning the club’s footballing principles, paying the cost for Jose Mourinho, spending wildly in the transfer market, but Joan Laporta steadied the course and brought the club back along Johann Cruyff’s template. They studied their ranks chose the best person to lead them back to their core values. A much more detailed version of events is delineated in Graham Hunter´s book, Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World.

Their former captain has led them to 13 club titles (including two Champions League trophies plus three straight La Liga titles) and 18 individual coaching honors, all in his very first coaching assignment for his hometown club, and while he has always maintained that he would only negotiate a series of one-year contracts, he has always said he would do right by the club that gave him everything. Under the Laporta regime that took a chance on him, the risk of losing him was minimal despite fears that the driven coach would suffer some sort of burn-out, but there has been a sense that Sandro Rosell is a whole other animal as an “employer.” Which is why it does not surprise me that reports are coming out of the Catalunyan and National Press that Pep Guardiola has met with FC Barcelona management and decided to step down as Barcelona coach.

It goes beyond what Rosell did to Guardiola´s mentor Cruyff at the very beginning of the Presidency, of Rosell´s continued fractious relationship with former colleague Laporta, or of rumored friction between the manager and Rosell. I think Guardiola genuinely manages by instinct, certainly not on the pitch where he is a gifted strategist, but in the backroom and in the working relationships he handles. He guides himself by ¨feeling¨, a sense that he can or can´t work with someone, and if he played that card with Samuel Eto´o, Ronaldinho, Deco and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, then I don´t see why he wouldn´t use this as an opportunity to bow out.

He´s won everything with this club. It´s his right to decide when he should walk away. I know there are reports in France that the English FA is considering offering him Fabio Capello´s job, and both Chelsea FC and Manchester City are interested in England, to go along with both AC Milan and Inter Milan in Italy, but more than likely Pep will take some time off from the grind and decide much later on whether or not he will even coach again. Returning to Barça, I could be wrong on this, just doesn´t look good.

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