Man City CEO clarifies Pep Guardiola comments over Barcelona return

Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano felt compelled to clarify recent comments from his club's manager Pep Guardiola which sparked talk of a potential return to Barcelona.

Guardiola's press conferences have churned up a raft of headlines in recent weeks. After his City side overturned a 2-0 half-time deficit against Tottenham, Guardiola launched a scathing attack on his "players, staff, the whole organisation".

During that rant, the 52-year-old claimed his side were "far away, far away" from leaders Arsenal in the Premier League title race. However, it was his comments before City edged past the Gunners with a 1-0 win in the FA Cup on Friday night which forced Soriano to speak out.

Ahead of the cup tie, Guardiola detailed the affection Mikel Arteta held for the Gunners while he was City's assistant manager: "He loves the club. I remember here when we score goals he jumps a lot except one team. He was sitting there. It was Arsenal. I said that guy likes Arsenal."

Guardiola then compared Arteta's link with Arsenal to his own support of Barcelona. Like Arteta and Arsenal, the current City boss played for and captained Barcelona, and he admitted that he had no problem with Arteta leaving the Etihad to return to his favoured club.

"Like here if I'm training as assistant and Barcelona call me, I go," Guardiola said. "People have to fly when he believes is the best. To players, if they are not happy they have to leave, life is too short."

Social media moved into overdrive with the half-quote of 'If Barcelona call me, I go', but Soriano was keen to remind supporters exactly what Guardiola had said.

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"What Guardiola said is that he would go to Barcelona if he was assistant coach at Manchester City and called by Barça," Soriano clarified to DAZN, "but being the first manager, for sure he won't go to Barcelona or anywhere else in the next two and a half years [the length of his contract]."

Ironically, Soriano was speaking after a Barcelona match. However, the La Liga giants were hosted by Catalan rivals Girona on Saturday afternoon, a club part of the City Group's stable of associations.

Source : 90min