Tito Vilanova will replace Pep Guardiola as Barcelona's new manager, after the 41-year-old confirmed his departure at the end of the season following a glittering career at the Nou Camp.

The 41-year-old, who was on a one-year rolling contract with the Catalan giants, has opted against renewing his deal following Tuesday's Champions League semi-final exit to Chelsea.

And Barcelona have wasted little time appointing a new boss, bringing in Vilanova, who has worked as Guardiola's right-hand man throughout his entire tenure as first-team manager, including during his one-year spell with Barcelona B.

Vilanova will be tasked with filling the substantial void left by Guardiola who despite only taking the post in 2008 has already become the most successful manager in the club's illustrious history, having won 13 major trophies during his four-year tenure.

Pep Guardiola
Guardiola leaves after four years at the helm at Barcelona.

"This was not a simple decision," Guardiola said at a Friday press conference. "But I will try to explain. I am sorry about the confusion of the last few weeks.

"I've always wanted short contracts because the demand from Barcelona is so big. I always thought four years was an eternity to manage Barcelona. In the autumn I told my chairman my era was coming to an end.

"Now we are out of the two main competitions, it is a good time to announce it. I had to announce it today because I didn't want the confusion to continue.

"It would have been a bad idea to continue. Perhaps we wouldn't have gone wrong, but I have the perception that we would. I know where I'm going from, I know it's the best place, but it's my decision to go. I want to say thanks to my players who it has been a privilege to train them.

"I'm going to recover myself. The challenge to take charge of the Barcelona A team was unbelievable, and I need time to recover that feeling. It has been three days of madness, but that's what had to happen.

"I'm going with the understanding that I've done my duty and I'm proud of what I have achieved

"When I was told I was to manage the B team [in 2008], I jumped for joy like a kid. But I don't have that feeling anymore. The one that will replace me will do a marvellous job and is very capable of replacing me."

Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell said: "Thank you for everything you have given to the club. Thank you for your work and for your love

"The thanks from everybody from the club will be eternal for the greatest coach in the club's history."

Early reports had suggested Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa and Roma manager and former player Luis Enrique were set to take over, however Vilanova, a manager with limited top flight experience will take the reins from the start of next season.

The appointment of the 42-year-old mirrors the promotion of Guardiola four years previous, and former Spanish international has given his blessing to his successor.

"With Tito, Barça is making a great choice. He's very capable. The players know him," he said.

Guardiola , who will now take a break from the game, leaves behind a defining legacy from his trophy-laden spell with the European heavyweights.

He'll have an opportunity to add to his trophy haul in the Copa del Rey final against Europa League finalists Bilbao on 25 May, set to be the Spaniard's final game in charge.

Having firmly installed himself as a club icon during his 11-year playing career, Guardiola took up a post with the Barcelona B team in 2007, earning promotion via the playoffs from Segunda Division B during his one and only season.

He subsequently replaced Frank Rijkaard at the helm for the 2008/09 season, and set about building what would become arguably the greatest club side to walk the earth, spearheaded by the world's best player Lionel Messi.

Barcelona overcame Manchester United in the Champions League final in Guardiola's first season, adding to their La Liga title and Copa del Rey triumphs, thus becoming the first Spanish club to complete the treble.

His second season saw Barcelona retain their domestic title with 99 points, ahead of a Madrid side headed by Cristiano Ronaldo, while they also claimed the World Club Cup for the first time defeating Estudiantes in the final.

Another La Liga title last season was eclipsed by perhaps Barca's most complete performance under Guardiola, a 3-1 destruction of United in the Champions League final at Wembley, scene of the club's first European Cup victory 10 years earlier.

Despite winning another World Club Cup, beating Santos in the final, pressures in his final season which included the resurgence of Madrid under Jose Mourinho, who are on the brink of claiming their first domestic title since Guardiola was appointed, has led to the Santpedor-born boss calling a day on his Barca career.