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Apr 26, 2012

Guardiola to leave Barcelona - reports

Pep Guardiola is set to part company with Barcelona at the end of the season, according to reports on Thursday evening.

• Brewin: Don't believe the hype

Guardiola's future has been the subject of conjecture following a disappointing week for Barcelona, during which their 2-1 defeat in El Clasico propelled Real Madrid toward the Liga title.

Barca then followed that result with a 3-2 aggregate loss to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, meaning their remaining focus is now on the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao on May 25.

Guardiola has been on a rolling contract at the Camp Nou since taking over from Frank Rijkaard in 2008, and, with the 2011-12 season drawing to a close, speculation has ignited over whether he will commit to fresh terms.

The latest reports suggest the 41-year-old will not extend his stay with the Spanish club, amid suggestions he is keen to take a year out from football, such is the intensity of leading Barcelona.

A press conference is scheduled for Friday when Guardiola is expected to confirm the news, which will likely be followed by a string of reports proposing potential replacements for the hugely successful coach, with Athletic's Marcelo Bielsa mooted as a contender.

Guardiola has won three successive La Liga titles since being handed the reins, while he lifted the Champions League trophy in 2009 and 2011, subsequently winning the FIFA Club World Cup on two occasions also.

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