Pep Guardiola must deliver Champions League glory to Man City after penning new deal
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It is the one glaring omission on his otherwise glittering Manchester City CV.
Pep Guardiola may publicly claim he is not obsessed about winning the Champions League again, but privately he is desperate to make it a hat-trick of European titles as a manager.
That, more than anything, was the decisive factor in Guardiola agreeing to sign a contract extension with City that will keep him with the club until at least 2023.
Despite his record-breaking success at City, which includes two Premier League titles, three League Cups and one FA Cup, Guardiola’s failure in the Champions League still stands out.
Three successive quarter-final exits for City have seen Guardiola’s European pedigree called into question, despite leading Barcelona to Champions League success in 2009 and 2011.
Both those triumphs were inspired by the breathtaking majesty of Lionel Messi, with Guardiola unable to escape the uncomfortable truth that he has been unable to conquer Europe without the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Pep Guardiola will be at Man City for a further two seasons
(Image: Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)
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Now Guardiola has committed to a further two years, City will do all they can to reunite him with Messi, in the hope that arguably the greatest player of all time can unlock the door to the one title to so far elude them.
Messi would arguably be the final piece in the jigsaw for Guardiola to lead City to European glory, with everything else in place for the 49-year-old to achieve success.
The entire structure at City has been built to accommodate Guardiola, with the Catalan aware there is no other club in the world where he would be able to work so freely, without restraint or compromise.
He already had a close relationship with chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain from their time working together at Barca, and has a close alliance with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
As one City insider said of the culture within the club, “everyone is in thrall to Pep”, with that reverence having allowed Guardiola to build a support network that bends to his demands and has allowed him to set a new standard in English football.
Man City have regularly come unstuck in Europe
(Image: Getty Images)
Guardiola is appreciative of being able to work so unhindered and said his decision to sign a new deal was also largely down to the loyalty the club have shown him, in good times and bad.
“I saw many times in the bad moments how the people here support me,” said Guardiola. “Of course, Ferran and Txiki, but especially Khaldoon, our chairman, was the main reason I decided to continue.
“We had long talks this week together, we put both sides to continue or not and, in the end, we decided that the best for all of us is to continue, because still we have the feeling there is unfinished business and still there is something to do – continue what we have done in the last years.
“I would say that, at this time, the reason I signed the contract is for our chairman. Especially for the conversations that we had.
The Catalan has not won Europe's top prize since leaving Barcelona
(Image: Corbis via Getty Images)
“He convinced me that we still have to move forward, to try to do it, to continue what we’ve done in these incredible last four years together.
“Trying to do it, knowing how tough it will be in the Premier League and in Europe and the desire to, if it’s possible, make a step forward, and this club to maintain the level we’ve achieved these last seasons.”
“Of course, all managers depend on results, obviously me as well, and we have to win to continue.”
Guardiola has raised the bar to an unprecedented level in English football, with back-to-back title wins achieved with 100 and 98 points, with last season’s champions Liverpool responding with 99 points, having finished runners’-up to City the previous year with 97.
Now, on the back of his new deal, Guardiola must transfer that domestic success to the European stage and deliver the one trophy he and City are so desperate to get their hands on.