28 Apr 2012

Guardiola to quit Barca, Vilanova to take charge

10:35 am on 28 April 2012

The Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who led the club to unprecedented heights with a brand of football widely regarded as the closest to perfection the game has seen, has announced his decision to leave at the end of the season.

Guardiola's decision to take a break from the game brings to an end a four-year tenure during which he led the Catalans to 13 trophies, including two Champions League triumphs and three straight Spanish La Liga titles.

The announcement at an emotional news conference came after months of speculation over the 41-year-old's future.

It was also three days after his team were denied a place in the Champions League final by Chelsea in a spectacular match and followed last weekend's 2-1 La Liga defeat at home to rivals Real Madrid that all-but ended their hopes of a fourth title in a row.

Guardiola told the media throng that four years is an eternity for a coach of Barcelona and says it wore him down.

He is to be replaced by assistant Tito Vilanova.