Manchester City

Manchester City

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Pep Guardiola: Man City exit date named as Fabrizio Romano offers insight into his thinking

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City will one day part ways

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City will one day part ways

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has dropped the strongest hint yet at when he plans to walk away from the Etihad and with Fabrizio Romano having also given a firm indication into the Spaniard’s plans.

The 3-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday confirmed Manchester City as Premier League champions for the sixth time in the last seven seasons and also means the Cityzens made history by becoming the first club to win the crown four seasons in a row. And more is set to come for the Blues, who face Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday in the FA Cup and claim an unprecedented double Double.

Quite simply, Guardiola is up there with the best there has ever been, having won 72.82% of the 471 matches he has taken charge of at City since his appointment in summer 2016.

That trophy haul now stands at a ridiculous 15 trophies over those eight seasons (16 if they win the FA Cup on Saturday) earning Guardiola respect alongside Sir Alex Ferguson as the best there has ever been.

Indeed, the City boss was close to tears on Sunday as the emotion of City’s latest triumph and after great adversary Jurgen Klopp bowed out at Anfield. The City boss admits he would not have enjoyed the success he has had if it had not been for the way the departing Liverpool boss had pushed him along.

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However, there are some who believe Guardiola could walk in a year’s time as City await the Premier League’s verdict over an alleged 115 breaches of FFP regulations, results of which are likely to be published in spring 2025.

Guardiola hints at Manchester City exit date

And while the 53-year-old has always insisted that will not be a factor in any decision he makes, the City boss has not conceded that he is closer to leaving than staying after witnessing them win their 10th title as champions of England.

And with Guardiola currently out of contract in summer 2025, the City boss has dropped the biggest hint yet that he is ready to walk away.

“The reality is I am closer to leaving than staying,” he said. “We have talked with the club – my feeling is that I want to stay now. I will stay next season and during the season we will talk. But [after] eight or nine years, we will see.”

Asked what is left for him to achieve and if he felt he has  “completed English football”, Guardiola added: “I had that season last year after [winning the Champions League to complete the Treble in] Istanbul. I said: ‘It’s over, there’s nothing left.’ But I have a contract, I’m still here.

“Some of the moments I’m a bit tired but some of the moments I love and we are here winning games, looking good with new players. I started to think about [how] no one had done four in a row [so] why don’t we try? And now I feel it’s done, so what next? FA Cup [final against United on Saturday].

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“Gary Lineker told me that no team has done back to back Premier Leagues and FA Cups.

“What I want is for my players to enjoy two or three days and then we have two days to prepare the final but right now I don’t know what exactly the motivation is to do it because it’s difficult to find it when everything is done.”

Are Man City the best side ever?

Guardiola added: “But knowing the players and myself I know that when we are there we will say why should we not win today? Why should we not work as much as possible to do what we have to do? And I know we are going to do it.”

Liverpool, Arsenal, Huddersfield Town and Man Utd (twice over) are the the only sides to have won the title three years in a row, with Man City matching that triumph last season.

However, Sunday’s latest success now sees them standing alone as the only team to win it four years on the bounce.

Asked if they should now be regarded as the greatest side in English football, Guardiola continued: “In terms of numbers, nobody has been better than us – the records, the goals, the points and four in a row.

“If I land here tomorrow and you say I will win six Premier Leagues in seven years, I would say ‘Are you crazy?’. It’s impossible. When I moved here if someone had said I would win six leagues in seven seasons I would say ‘You’re insane – no way’.

“We have done something unbelievable. For fans from Liverpool, from [Bill] Shankly and [Bob] Paisley and all the players, Ian Rush, Graeme Souness. For their fans Liverpool will always be the best team.

“From Sir Alex Ferguson [at United] he had that incredible period with Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Roy Keane, [Paul] Scholes, [Ryan] Giggs, [David] Beckham, [Dwight] Yorke and [Andy] Cole and [Michael] Carrick and for them [United fans] they will always be the best team. And I’m pretty sure for our fans for this period we are the best.”

Fabrizio Romano gives insight into Guardiola exit plans

City winger Jack Grealish revealed earlier this season in an interview that Guardiola regularly works 18-20 hour days, seven days a week, meaning his quest to be the best has clearly not come easily.

It’s also true that no man can continue working at that intensity and trusted reporter Fabrizio Romano, speaking to Caught Offside, also believes this will be the final season of the Spanaird at Man City.

“Congrats to Man City for one more insane season, Pep Guardiola confirms he’s a legendary manager and this group of players, this board are really special,” Romano said.

“Speaking after the game, Guardiola hinted he was closer to leaving than to staying at City. It’s not guaranteed yet, there’s one year to decide, so to make any firm predictions now would just be a guess job and I don’t like to do that.

“In general, the feeling is really for Pep to leave Man City in 2025 but again, it’s not something that he has already discussed with the club. Let’s wait and see.”

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Those fine margins could well have made the difference for City this season, with the City boss acknowledging just how close Arsenal came to ending their run as title winners this season.

“Before it was Liverpool to push our limits and now it was Arsenal,” he said. “I want to congratulate them from the depths of my heart for Mikel [Arteta], his staff and players. They have had an incredible season. I feel it and they push us to our best like before.

“We got the message from Mikel and his players. We have to make the right decisions in the next years because they are here to stay. He [Arteta] is young. You see Declan Rice, [Martin] Odegaard, [William] Saliba, Gabriel, [Kai] Havertz and [Bukayo] Saka. They are so young and have experience in the Champions League. For two years they were close. We compete incredibly well and again and for a little margin we won it.”

If the 2024/25 season is to be the final one of Guardiola at City he will bow out as one of, if not, greatest Premier League managers of all time.