• Premier League

Guardiola confirms he will return next season

ESPN staff
January 7, 2013

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says he plans to return to the game next season, but he has not yet decided who he will manage.

Guardiola was speaking at a press conference before Monday night's FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony, where he is nominated for the Coach of the Year award along with Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque and Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.

"Next season I will return to coaching," Guardiola said. "I am young, just 41, and have a long time to go. It would be a lack of respect to the current coach to speak about any team, anywhere in the world. I have decided to coach, but beyond that have made no decision (on a club)."

The Catalan coach said he was enjoying his year's sabbatical from the game, especially watching former club Barcelona climb to ever greater heights this season under his successor and former assistant Tito Vilanova.

"I am enjoying watching football, in a different way to when you are working, on the TV," Guardiola said. "I enjoy watching the good players and teams that there are all around the world. To watch this Barca playing is a spectacle. They are doing the same or better than with me. A lot of people participated in the team. It is a club I continue to respect and admire."

La Roja's Euro 2012-winning coach Del Bosque said the strong Spanish presence on the shortlist showed that his country was now leading the world in coaching expertise.

"It is very satisfying to have two Spanish coaches sitting here," Del Bosque said. "Before, we went abroad to see what other people were doing. Today, everyone else is coming to Spain to see what we are doing."

Mourinho was not present, as he is skipping the gala awards ceremony to remain in Madrid and prepare for his side's Copa del Rey last-16 second leg against Celta Vigo at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Del Bosque said he could not comment on Mourinho's decision not to attend.

"Mourinho is not here because he has an important game on Wednesday," Del Bosque said. "It is his personal decision. I have nothing else to add."

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