According to reports coming out of Catalunya, all signs point towards Josep Guardiola taking over for Frank Rijkaard at the Nou Camp. The former Olympic gold medalist and member of the much ballyhooed Dream Team of the 1990′s will be promoted to the big team at the end of this season. Catalan network TV3 began reporting this bombshell early today, although the club denied this in an official statement released on their website. The club states that the former Dutch international is under contract until 2009 and the board ¨has placed their trust in him¨. The investigative program ¨20 Minutos¨ cited a source ¨close to (FC) Barcelona¨ as the one divulging this information about the coaching change regardless of what silverware the team may win. Guardiola is on a short list that includes former teammate Michael Laudrup and former French international Laurent Blanc as Jose Mourinho’s name quickly faded from that list.
Rijkaard is also being looked at as a possible replacement for Carlo Ancelotti at AC Milan, and could be a viable candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant Dutch national coaching job.
As a player, Guardiola’s resume is impeccable and is not one to even be shrugged at- even by Frank Rijkaard. His experience and talent as a player can never be doubted. So his possible hiring could stir a great deal of criticism despite his past with the club. Laudrup and Blanc have top flight coaching experience as they manage Getafe and Bordeaux respectively. The issue that would put a decision such as this in question is his lack of experience as a coach. ¨Pep¨ is currently the head coach with Barcelona B and is a fundamental part of the club’s success in the past 20 years. He coach such players as Giovani Dos Santos and Bojan Krkic in the past couple of years. According to that same report that talks about the ¨probability¨ of Guardiola is the incorporation of former teammate Luis Enrique to the coaching staff as well.
In addition to his gold medal in the 1992 Olympics, he also won six league titles, four Spanish Super Cups, two European Super Cups, two Copa del Rey titles, a European Championship, and raised a European Cup Winners Cup. He is arguably the greatest and most successful player to come out of the Barcelona youth development program. In addition to his gold medal in the 1992 Olympics, he also won six league titles, four Spanish Super Cups, two European Super Cups, two Copa del Rey titles, a European Championship, and raised a European Cup Winners Cup. In 2001, Guardiola left Barcelona and signed with Italian side Brescia. At this point in his career he was no longer the player that anchored the blaugrana midfield. Injuries took a toll on him, but his performance in Italy was still effective enough to be considered for a spot in the Spanish national team for the 2002 World Cup. AS Roma also took an interest in the player, but only took part in four matches. In the winter he returned tro Brescia to strengthen the team’s midfield alongside Roberto Baggio. That experiment would be short-lived as Guardiola would test positive for nandrolone and face a tempestuous court battle that he eventually won.
He then signed with Qatari side Al Ahly for two seasons, and then to Dorados Sinaloa in the Mexican league and officially retired in 2006.
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