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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 23 September 2020

No way, Jose: Guardiola exit had 'nothing to do' with Mourinho

He may be exhausted but the Barcelona coach says it has nothing to do with his rival in Madrid. Believe him?

Guardiola gestures besides assistant Tito Vilanova on Sunday night.
Guardiola gestures besides assistant Tito Vilanova on Sunday night.
Image: Andres Kudacki/AP/Press Association Images

PEP GUARDIOLA SAYS his relationship with Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho did not play a role in his decision to leave Barcelona.

Guardiola, 42, announced on Friday he will not renew his contract with Barca after being ‘exhausted’ by his whirlwind four years in the job. The last two seasons of Guardiola’s tenure have been punctuated by spiteful exchanges with Mourinho, who is on the verge of leading Real to La Liga glory.

“Did Mourinho influence my decision to leave? Not at all. I had other opponents as well, but other coaches don’t make you tired. Day-to-day work and winning does,” Guardiola told a press conference.

However, the former Spain international midfielder refused to rule out a return to Camp Nou in the future.

“Will I again be Barca coach in the future?” he said.  ”I can’t answer that now. I really don’t know.”

Guardiola also championed the cause of Barca star Lionel Messi to retain the FIFA Ballon d’Or after Mourinho made a case for Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo to win the prestigious award.

“Mourinho says Cristiano Ronaldo should win the Ballon d’Or this year rather than Messi? There will be a day that Messi won’t win it, but he’s been brilliant this season,” Guardiola said.

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