Thursday, February 10, 2011

Guardiola agrees new Barcelona contract

(CNN) -- Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola has agreed to stay with the Spanish champions for at least another season, the club announced on Tuesday.

The 40-year-old has been in charge since mid-2008, and has since led the Catalan side to two La Liga titles as well as success in the European Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Cup.

In July last year, he signed up for another 12 months -- and this season has led Barca to a record 16 successive league victories, eclipsing the record set in 1960-61 by the club's great rivals Real Madrid.

Guardiola is on course to win a third Spanish crown, with Barca seven points ahead of second-placed Real ahead of Saturday's trip to Sporting Gijon.

"FC Barcelona announce that they have reached an agreement with Josep Guardiola to renew his contract with the club for another season, until the 30th of June 2012," read a statement on the Barcelona website.

It add that Guardiola, who joined the club at the age of 13 and made his first-team debut in 1990, is expected to sign the contract "in the next few days."

Guardiola's attractive attacking policy has seen him linked with several of Europe's top clubs, in particular English champions Chelsea -- whose billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich is still seeking to win the much-coveted Champions League prize.

His team provided seven of Spain's starting line-up in the 2010 World Cup final victory over the Netherlands, with midfielder Andres Iniesta scoring the only goal.

Iniesta was beaten by Lionel Messi for the top prize at this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or world player of the year awards, with Xavi also in the all-Barcelona three-man shortlist.


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