Tuesday 24 October 2017

Barcelona boss Guardiola ‘may quit at end of season’ to take sabbatical, says father

Euro Zone

Pete Jenson

BARCELONA coach Pep Guardiola could leave his job at the end of the season and take a break from football, according to his father.

The 38-year old, who won six trophies in his first season in charge, has not signed an extension to his contract which runs out at the end of the season and Valenti Guardiola has hinted his son is considering a sabbatical.

Guardiola snr said: “I don’t know if (he) will stay at Barcelona(beyond the end of the season) or if he will take a break from football and relax. The dad is always the last to know about these things.”

Guardiola broke Terry Venables’ 25-year-old record of league matches unbeaten with a 1-1 draw against Villarreal.Venables’Barca squad went 15 games without losing in the league in the1984-85 season and this point made it 16 for Guardiola’s team, although with Real Madrid now too close for comfort it was a draw that tasted like defeat.

Pedro scored on seven minutes from a rebound after Thierry Henry hooked a Dani Alves cross on to the bar. But after having two clear penalty claims turned down Villarreal equalised through David Fuster. Meanwhile, Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs to control his temper and accept the decisions made by match officials or he risks letting down the team, according to Guardiola. The Swede protested a host of decisions in Barca’s clash with Villarreal and was booked in the 88th minute for a lunge at Diego Godin.

“He’s a temperamental player and we need to be a bit careful because we might end up one day with 10 players,” Guardiola said. “Ibrahimovic needs to be strong and he is capable of doing it as he’s a great player,” he added. “He can’t control the referees’ decisions.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s title rivals Real Madrid were forced to settle for a point after drawing 0-0 away to Osasuna last night, which leaves them trailing Guardiola’s men by two points. Elsewhere on Saturday, substitute Nikola Zigic netted in the third minute of added time to give Valencia a 1-0 win over Espanyol and lift them into third place above Sevilla.

Injured duo David Silva and Pablo Hernandez were missing for Valencia at the Mestalla and the home team initially struggled to create chances. David Villa raced through the Espanyol defence in the 54th minute but goalkeeper Carlos Kameni blocked his low shot.

Juan Mata then picked Villa out with a cross from the left with just over 10 minutes to go but the Spain striker’s header came back off a post.

Towering Serb Zigic then timed his run perfectly to meet Joaquin’s cross from the right and send a glancing header into the corner of the net past Cameroon international Kameni. Valencia have 32 points, two ahead of Sevilla who squandered the lead and conceded a goal in the fourth minute of added time to lose 2-1 at Atletico Madrid. Sevilla also had midfielder Aldo Duscher dismissed for a second yellow card in the 73rd minute. Renato had put them in front just before the break when he looped a header over Atletico ’keeper Sergio Asenjo from Diego Perotti’s corner.

Atletico levelled when an attempted clearance by Sevilla ’keeper Andres Palop three minutes into the second half cannoned back off defender Ivica Dragutinovic into the empty net. With a draw looking likely, Antonio Lopez burst into the penalty area to send a header into the net for his side’s first home win since the end of November.

And yesterday, Deportivo La Coruna climbed up to fifth place in La Liga with a 0-0 draw against Real Zaragoza.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport