Former Spanish international Pep Guardiola, who recently confirmed he would step down as Barcelona manager at the end of the season, insists he wants a break from football and has no plans to join Chelsea or any other club, after his departure from the Nou Camp.
Guardiola announced his exit at a press conference in Barcelona on Friday and added he was quitting not because he wanted a change of clubs but to take break from the pressures of being a club manager.
"Four years is an eternity at Barcelona. I am the coach who has the third most number of games in the history of the club - that tells you how difficult it is here. Time wears everything down. I could not go on. Coming here day after day, over and over again, wears you out. A coach needs energy to be at his best and the only way to get that back is to take a break and distance myself [from here]. I needed to get away from it all," the Guardian quoted Guardiola as saying.
However, Guardiola did not rule out the idea of him coaching other teams in the future.
"Sooner or later, I might coach again, but I don't know when. At the moment I am interested in other things: there is more beyond football. Life will take me where it takes me," he added.
The 41 year old manager, who has been replaced by his former assistant manager Tito Vilanova, also dismissed rumours of talks between him and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who is reportedly ready to pay big money to bring the Spaniard to Stamford Bridge.
"No. That would have been a lack of respect to the club. I want people to know that this is not easy for me. Between the end of October and the start of December I told the sporting director and the president that I thought my time at the club was very close to its end. But I could not tell the players at the time because we still had to compete. It would have been a mess if I had done," he added.
"I reached a point where I could have carried on as a coach but not in the way that a Barcelona coach should. I feel profoundly sorry, from the very deepest part of me, that I no longer have that energy that I once did. I have too much consideration for my players to carry on without that enthusiasm. I am so grateful to them: it has been a privilege to train them. They have turned ideas into reality on the pitch many times and there is no greater joy for a coach than that," he further added.
Meanwhile, Abramovich, whose other high-profile managerial targets include former boss Jose Mourinho (now in charge of Real Madrid), may not be too pleased with Guardiola's decision to take a sabbatical. That decision may mean the club's interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo, who has been instrumental in the Blues' run to the FA Cup and Champions League finals, gets the nod for a permanent contract.
"History tells us it's difficult to replicate the culture of a club into a different club. He might be the first one to do it. But if you look back at history, it seems as if it's been different," Di Matteo said, according to a Metro report, when asked about Guardiola's future.