Six national teams that could appoint Pep Guardiola after he leaves Man City
Since joining Manchester City in 2016, Pep Guardiola has undoubtedly established himself as one of the best managers the English top-flight has ever seen, sweeping up three Premier League titles.
However, the Spaniard has revealed that he intends to leave the Etihad at the end of his current deal, which expires upon the culmination of the 2022-23 campaign.
After Guardiola had spoken at an event in Brazil, ESPN also reported that he intends to take over an international side as his next role, but would take a break from the game first.
Adding a World Cup to his trophy cabinet would only assert Guardiola’s status as one of the greatest managers of all time even further. But where could he realistically go? We take a look at six options.
Despite failing to hit the heights expected of them over the past decade or so, Brazil’s national team still has a powerful hold over the footballing world.
Pele, Zico, Romario, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and now Neymar; they are a country littered with legends of the game. So why wouldn’t Pep want to get involved?
Dani Alves suggested the coach was keen to lead the Selecao when they hosted the World Cup back in 2014, with his admiration for the Brazilian game dating back to facing Tele Santana’s Sao Paulo when he was playing at the base of midfield for Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona.
Domenec Torrent, an assistant of Guardiola’s at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Man City, said in an interview in 2020 that it is a position that would undoubtedly attract his old boss.
“Pep could manage the Brazil team perfectly – and I am convinced he would improve it,” Torrent told Globoesporte.
“Pep has a special feeling for Brazilian players. He has worked with Brazilians at Barcelona, Bayern and City. In fact, he has a preference for Brazilians because they are very versatile and can adapt to any type of football.”
A ferocious battle could break out between the two South American superpowers come 2023.
La Albiceleste have apparently long seen Guardiola as their dream appointment. In 2018 they seriously weighed up making the Spaniard an offer to replace Jorge Sampaoli at the helm, only for concerns over finances to put a halt to any move.
At that point, the City boss was just two years into his spell at the Etihad, meaning Argentina would have been forced to pay a significant amount of compensation to the reigning English champions, as well as paying off Sampaoli.
There is no doubt that the prospect of working with Lionel Messi will have once appealed to the former Barcelona boss. But with the Qatar World Cup expected to be Leo’s last international tournament, is the allure still there?
Well, maybe the prospect of following in the footsteps of his managerial hero, Marcelo Bielsa, could tempt him.
With an exceptionally talented young squad, there probably aren’t too many managers better suited to the Three Lions’ development than Guardiola (sorry, Gareth).
He is someone the FA have apparently tried to tempt to the role before. In 2015, Guardiola stormed out of a Bayern Munich press conference after being asked about the prospect of replacing Roy Hodgson at the head of the England set-up, after rumours emerged in the British press.
“Oh come on, I’m coach of Bayern Munich. Many thanks and auf wiedersehen,” he said ahead of the trip to Mainz six years ago.
It was also reported by The Independent in 2013 that the FA missed the chance to talk to Guardiola after he himself requested an interview for the position after Fabio Capello’s departure. But David Bernstein, then chairman of the FA, was so adamant that the next boss would be English that Guardiola was dismissed immediately.
With Gareth Southgate apparently reluctant to extend his contract past the Qatar World Cup in 2022, the Spaniard’s Manchester City exit in 2023 could be perfectly timed.
Could the former Bayern Munich man end up in control of Die Mannschaft? Possibly.
Guardiola did, of course, spend three seasons managing in the Bundesliga, taking Bayern to three league titles and two DFB-Pokals in that time.
While he has never expressed any particular desire to manage the four-time World Cup winners – nor have Germany expressed an interest – he has previously proposed being the assistant to one of the many great coaches in Germany today: albeit, in a jokey manner.
“If you have learned something during my time in Germany – which has become firmly established here in England – it is the quality of the German coaches,” he said during an interview with DAZN in April.
“Jurgen Klopp, Hansi Flick, Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann, Marco Rose, Ralf Rangnick and Lothar Matthaus. And Dietmar Hamann and many others can do this job.
“But I can play the role of assistant if they want.”
From Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta to Thiago Alcantara, David Silva and Rodri, Guardiola has tended to get the best out of technically gifted Spanish midfielders and taking the helm of the national team that he himself made 47 appearances between 1992 and 2001 would make a lot of sense.
Come 2023, it’ll be a new generation of players for Guardiola to get his hands on – but you can imagine he’d be thrilled to work with rising stars like Pedri and Ansu Fati.
But being a notable supporter of a referendum for Catalan independence makes the prospect of working with the Spanish FA a little awkward. Perhaps he’ll coach Catalonia instead, despite it not being recognised by FIFA.
😍 Un momento speciale a EURO 2000
💫👕 Guardiola e Zidane 🤝 pic.twitter.com/pjvHiMLxUd
— La UEFA (@UEFAcom_it) April 29, 2021
As he came to the end of his time with Bayern, the Qatar national team reportedly tried to recruit Guardiola to be the country’s manager for the 2022 World Cup – something he was said to be considering.
We now know that will not happen. The City boss has said he will leave the Etihad at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, making it incredibly unlikely that he will jet off to the Middle East for next year’s winter tournament.
However, we know that Guardiola already has plenty of ties with region – having ended his playing career in Qatar and his current employment – so it is hard to rule out the appointment happening at some point. Especially when he has talked up next year’s controversial World Cup in the past.
“The people in Qatar have to help the country to make the event the best that is possible,” he said in 2015, via The Guardian, after spending the winter break in Doha. “The world will be watching and I hope the people here can help out to show the world that they are capable of hosting the biggest event in football.
“Fifa has always tried to look for new areas to promote the sport. They went to South Africa in 2010 and in 2022 they have decided to come here. It’s a good step to come to this part of the world. It will help the rest of the world to know this part. Football at the end is a great opportunity to meet different cultures.”