Pep Guardiola insisted a desire to win the Champions League was not his only motivation for signing a new Manchester City contract, but he accepts the job would feel incomplete without a European triumph.

Guardiola secured an extension at City last month, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2024-25 season.

City have enjoyed vast domestic success under the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach, winning the Premier League four times out of the past five seasons.

However, a Champions League win has eluded them. They lost to Chelsea in the 2021 final and succumbed to Real Madrid in last season's semi-finals.

Guardiola knows it will be a blemish on his record if City cannot end their bad luck in the competition before he leaves.

"I admit it's the trophy that we want and of course it would not be complete – my period here – if we don't win it," Guardiola told reporters ahead of City's EFL Cup clash with Liverpool.

"But it's not the only reason I extended the contract, absolutely not. What does it mean if for the last 11 months we didn't play in the Champions League?

"Of course, I will do everything in this time we are together, we are going to try, as we tried before. Of course it's the trophy we don't have and we will try to do it."

City's trophy count under Guardiola stands at 11, but the 51-year-old is immensely grateful for the faith shown in him by the club's leadership.

"I said many times what I had here. Thank you so much for the confidence they have in me," he said. "It would be difficult to repay what in these many years, the board, all the people have shown me.

"It's difficult for me to reject them because of how they still want me and my staff, to try and do our best.

"I don't have enough words to express the incredible gratitude for this club."

After taking on Liverpool on Thursday, City restart their Premier League campaign against Leeds United on December 28. 

Pep Guardiola believes Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the greatest player of all time, describing arguments in favour of Pele or Diego Maradona as "sentimental".

Messi has long been considered among the best ever, but both he and Cristiano Ronaldo trailed Pele and Maradona in the eyes of some while neither had won the World Cup.

That changed on Sunday, when Messi led Argentina to glory at Qatar 2022, matching Maradona's achievement from 1986.

However, in the eyes of Manchester City manager Guardiola, who coached Messi at Barcelona, there was never any doubt.

"Everyone has their opinion, but nobody can doubt he's there with the greatest of all time," Guardiola said. "For me, I've said many times: he's the best.

"It's difficult to understand how a player can complete what he's done in the past 50 or 70 years.

"The people who saw Pele or [Alfredo] Di Stefano or Maradona, the people can say 'my favourite', but these opinions are sentimental.

"On the other side, if he wouldn't have won the World Cup, the opinion about what he has done for the whole of football and my opinion of how he is as a player wouldn't change absolutely anything.

"But it's normal that it depends if you win [how] you are evaluated. Of course, for him, it's the final cherries on his incredible career."

Messi was joined in the Argentina side by City striker Julian Alvarez and Nicolas Otamendi, who spent five years at the Etihad Stadium between 2015 and 2020.

"We are incredibly happy for him [Alvarez] – congratulations," Guardiola added. "For him, for Nico Otamendi, personally for Messi, for Argentina the country, for a well-deserved champion.

"For Julian, he is with us, and we are delighted. He played a lot, and his contribution was amazing to the team for the way we played. We have a world champion in our team."

Guardiola confirmed Alvarez would now enjoy "a break", but City's other World Cup stars have started to return ahead of Thursday's EFL Cup fourth-round tie against holders Liverpool.

"The players that were at the World Cup are in a better condition than the players who were here, that's for sure," Guardiola explained.

"Sergio [Gomez], Erling [Haaland], Riyad [Mahrez], Cole [Palmer]... the rhythm they miss a little bit compared, for example, to Manu Akanji and Rodri and Aymeric [Laporte] and Nathan [Ake].

"They came back and we saw them so good, perfectly. That's normal. They compete, they train every day, while we had holidays."

Pep Guardiola made it clear he is not happy with Manchester City's schedule after the World Cup.

City defeated Girona 2-0 in a friendly on Saturday, with Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland getting the goals.

The pair were two of four outfield players among City's first-team regulars, along with Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan, to have started the match.

Reserve goalkeeper Stefan Ortega and back-up left-back Sergio Gomez also featured from the off, but the rest of the squad was made up of academy players.

City face Liverpool in the EFL Cup last 16 on Thursday, before taking on Leeds United and Everton on December 28 and 31 respectively in the Premier League, and Guardiola claimed he did not yet have enough players to prepare for the festive fixture list.

"We have four players – five players," Guardiola told City's official media channel.

"We have to see how they are coming back [from the World Cup]. We don't have players. The big brains of football made this schedule so we are going to play this game."

City had plenty of representation in Qatar, though De Bruyne and Gundogan had returned after early exits for Belgium and Germany respectively.

Aymeric Laporte and Rodri were knocked out in the last 16 with Spain and will return next week, while England internationals Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, John Stones and Kalvin Phillips, along with Portugal trio Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva, as well as Netherlands defender Nathan Ake, are also set to join back up with the squad soon.

"Some players coming back now, in the next few days, step by step we have the people here," Guardiola added.

"People are coming back soon. After that the English players and Portuguese – they're coming back."

Indeed, despite being one of the best teams in world football, City have only one player who will be competing in the final between Argentina and France on Sunday.

Julian Alvarez has been one of Argentina's best performers in Qatar, scoring four goals, including twice in their semi-final win over Croatia.

"All of us are really happy for him," said Guardiola.

Gary Lineker has outlined his hope Gareth Southgate remains with England, comparing their lack of World Cup success to Manchester City's failure to win the Champions League.

Southgate is considering his future after overseeing England's quarter-final exit against France, in which Harry Kane scored one penalty and missed another.

The Three Lions manager masterminded runs to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the final of Euro 2020, but he has attracted criticism for failing to end the team's 56-year trophy drought. 

However, former England striker Lineker believes Southgate's achievements mean he deserves the opportunity to make his own decision on his future.

"I do hope Gareth stays. I think it's right that the decision is down to him," Lineker told BBC Sport. "He's done a really good job, you've got to consider where we were a few years ago.

"Everyone thinks it's an easy job and everyone thinks: 'I'd have played him and not him, or brought him on earlier and not him'. It's very easy in hindsight.

"I think Gareth has done a really good job. The only thing you'd say about him is sometimes he hasn't changed things dramatically in games where it's not going well. 

"It's very easy to be judgemental but World Cups are not leagues. In a league, the best team always wins. In a World Cup, it's a knockout."

England won praise for a series of positive displays in Qatar, recording their highest goal tally (13) at any major tournament (World Cup or European Championships).

England also had 57 per cent possession and managed twice as many shots as France (16 to eight) in their last-eight loss, leading Lineker to compare them to Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions.

Despite winning four Premier League titles in the past five seasons, City have suffered several shock eliminations from the Champions League under Guardiola, which Lineker says is proof knockout football does not always reward the best team. 

"Take Manchester City, probably the best club side in the world, but they haven't won the Champions League and they haven't won it under Pep Guardiola, who is the best coach in the world," he added.

"No one would say, 'let's get Pep out because we haven't won the Champions League', because that would be madness. 

"We haven't won the World Cup but we're going in the right direction. England are playing really good, attractive football with lots of exciting young players. Why would you mess with it now?"

Southgate must now weigh up whether to remain in charge for England's Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, which begins with a trip to Italy on March 23.

Ronaldo revealed Brazil approached Pep Guardiola to become their new head coach before the Manchester City boss renewed his contract with the Premier League champions.

The Selecao are preparing for life after Tite, who guided them to the World Cup quarter-finals before suffering penalty shoot-out heartbreak against Croatia on Friday.

The 61-year-old announced in February he would leave his role irrespective of how the five-time champions fared in Qatar.

Legendary striker Ronaldo says the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) had spoken with former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach Guardiola, who subsequently opted to extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium until 2025.

"There was interest in Guardiola; it was discussed with Guardiola's coaching staff, but he preferred to renew his contract with City," the 2002 World Cup winner said on his YouTube channel.

"Perhaps it would be difficult for the CBF to reach an agreement; he is the highest-paid coach in the world."

Ronaldo believes the CBF should now turn their attention to the "Brazilian Guardiola" in Fernando Diniz – the Fluminense head coach renowned for his attractive possession-based style of play.

"Perhaps Diniz would be an attraction for the Brazilian national team," he added. "He's a guy who plays well, puts on a show.

"It is a very important decision for the next cycle. The sooner you present the name and start working on the philosophy of the coach, the better it will be. And we'll see. I'm curious. I think big names are coming here."

With eight goals in seven matches so far this season Khadijah ‘Bunny’ Shaw is the 2022/2023 Women’s Super League leading scorer. She is tied with Aston Villa striker Rachel Daley, who also has a similar shot to goal conversion rate of 30 per cent with the Jamaican.

What is impressive is that Shaw’s eight goals is one less than the nine she scored in all of last season, her first in the WSL after she transferred from Bordeaux in the French league where her 22 goals in her final season won her the Golden Boot. Those eight goals have lifted Manchester City Women to fourth with 15 points from seven games, after losing their first two matches of the season.

So what has made the difference this season that has seen the Jamaican regain the form that has defined her international and club careers to date?

The 25-year-old Shaw has scored 56 goals in just 38 matches for Jamaica, which makes the Jamaica's most prolific striker, male or female. In college, she scored 27 goals in 35 matches for the Tennessee Volunteers while At Bordeaux, she scored 32 times in 35 appearances for the club over two seasons.

She explained that her dip in form last season was caused by her adjusting to a new style of play.

“I have always been consistent,” she said. “In the beginning, City plays a certain way; they have a structure, a culture and the style of play in France was completely different from what I was used to so when I went to City it was like an eye-opener.”

She said the way City wanted to play was difficult for her to adjust to because even as Gareth Taylor is the head coach, Pep Guardiola’s philosophy is what holds sway.

“Pep plays a massive role in the club and to adjust to the way they wanted to play was very difficult and I was playing for minutes as well,” she explained, having to temporarily play second fiddle to Ellen White, who has since retired.

“After the first year, I looked back and reflected to see where I can get better, how I could improve. I watched a lot of film and when I came in (back from the off-season) I spoke with my video analysis guy and we spent a lot of time together so as the games go on I have tried to improve upon the areas in which I was lacking last season.”

Shaw will have a chance to improve her goal tally when Manchester City Women take on Brighton Hove Albion on Sunday, December 4.

Brighton lie ninth in the WSL with seven points from their seven games to date. They have conceded 26 goals in those seven games, the most by any team in the league this season. They seem ripe for the picking for the goal-hungry Jamaican.

 

 

 

Kevin De Bruyne is delighted with Pep Guardiola's new Manchester City contract, but is frustrated Belgium cannot replicate the Premier League champions.

The playmaker has been a crucial figure for Guardiola during his time at the Etihad Stadium, with the pair establishing a bond that has led them to silverware across multiple competitions.

Yet despite his successes there, De Bruyne has sometimes found it difficult to dictate matches under national team boss Roberto Martinez the way he does for City.

With the recent news that Guardiola has signed a two-year extension, De Bruyne professed his happiness but stressed he cannot expect his country to perform like his club.

"It makes my life a lot easier," he stated. "The way he leads the team is very clear and I feel very comfortable with him. Both our contracts run to 2025, so that makes it easier. I could not be happier."

"[But Belgium] can't play in the same way as Manchester City. As a national team, you have to adapt to the players you have around you.

"Does it frustrate me sometimes? Yes, but I should show that less, although that is the perfection I strive for."

De Bruyne was named player of the match as Belgium began their World Cup campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Canada in Group F on Wednesday.

The midfielder cut a frustrated figure throughout and did not partake in celebrations for Michy Batshuayi's eventual winner, though he is aware he needs to keep his visible annoyance on a leash.

"I do know that my reactions are not always good," he added. "I look for moments afterwards, to find that peace, but people know that it's my way to help the team play better and get more out of the game.

"But of course, I also have to learn to react in a better way. Every now and then the emotions spill over, but that's also part of the game."

Belgium next play Morocco on Sunday, before their final Group F match with Croatia next Thursday.

Pep Guardiola has no doubt late mentor Johan Cruyff would have backed his decision to remain with Manchester City after penning a new two-year contract.

The Catalan coach has agreed fresh terms with the Premier League champions to take him through to 2025, stretching his tenure in charge to what will be a nine-year stay.

Under his watch, City have entrenched themselves as the dominant force in English football, with four top-flight titles, though their dream of winning the Champions League remains elusive.

Reflecting on his decision, Guardiola suggested both director of football Txiki Begiristain and himself would have received blessing from the late Dutchman, who managed them during their playing days at Barcelona.

"I think he would say extend two more years the contract!" he told City's website. "I am pretty sure Johan Cruyff would say that.

"From above he is happy right now. Always, I have the feeling of how sad about the fact he cannot be here to enjoy it with all of us. We are his sons, Txiki and myself.

"We talk about how nice it would be if he was here, but something he taught us or drove us with always is there."

Guardiola also took time to praise his backroom staff at City, who have helped him achieve nine major honours as manager.

"First of all, the quality that they have as human beings, first and foremost otherwise they would not be here," he said.

"But you have to cultivate, you have to grow, we have to still do what we have to do to continue to be better. Also, for the backroom staff, the message I’ve done is the same.

"It's not that what we have done is enough. They have to improve themselves, show they want to be here, that they want to help us [and] the club improve altogether. They know I'm just a part of that."

Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City in July 2016 with the aim of "winning games to make the fans happy and proud".

Six and a half years on from his appointment, it is fair to say the Catalan has achieved what he set out to do in that regard.

While a lack of Champions League success continues to blight his CV, Guardiola has otherwise conquered English football.

With four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and one FA Cup, Guardiola has won at least five major trophies more than any other City manager.

After signing a new deal on Wednesday that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2024-25 campaign, Stats Perform looks at the numbers behind Pep's reign.

DOMESTIC DOMINANCE

Guardiola has managed 374 matches as City manager, winning 271 of those, drawing 49 and losing 54 for a win rate of 72.5 per cent.

Most of those games (242) have come in the Premier League, followed by the Champions League (70, inc. qualifying), FA Cup (30), EFL Cup (28) and Community Shield (4).

The 605 Premier League goals scored by City under Guardiola averages out at 2.5 per game, with less than one a game conceded over the same period.

It is in the EFL Cup that Guardiola boasts his highest win percentage (75 per cent), having won 21 of the 28 matches he has managed in that competition, losing just twice.

 

PEP OUTDOING FERGIE

Unsurprisingly given City have won the title in four of his six seasons, no manager – not even Manchester United great Alex Ferguson – can better Guardiola's win rate.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has won 74 per cent of his games in the competition, with Ferguson, who managed 810 matches, next best on 65.2 per cent.

Among those to have taken charge of at least 20 games, Antonio Conte (65.7 per cent), Jurgen Klopp (63.2) and ex-City boss Roberto Mancini (61.7) make up the top five.

With four English top-flight titles, Guardiola needs one more to overtake Kenny Dalglish, though he has a long way to go to catch up with Ferguson, who won 13-such crowns.


PREM'S TOP DOGS

Guardiola is one of 119 managers to have taken charge of at least 50 Premier League matches, and he leads the way in a number of the top metrics.

He boasts the most points per game on average (2.4), the highest win percentage (74), most goals per game (2.5) and the fewest goals conceded (0.8).

That is reflected in an accumulated Premier League table across his six and a half seasons at the helm, which has City on 568 points – 38 more than next-best Liverpool.

Chelsea and their various managers have accrued the next highest number of points since the start of the 2016-17 season with 463, followed by Tottenham on 455.


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NEXT?

For all of Guardiola's undoubted success on the domestic stage, though, he has been unable to add to the two Champions League trophies lifted while managing Barcelona.

Guardiola has won 44 of his 68 games in the competition for a win rate of 65 per cent, a return only Hansi Flick can better (89 per cent) from his short spell at Bayern.

However, his side have repeatedly fallen short on the continent, with their run to the final in the 2020-21 season – when defeated by Chelsea – the best they have managed.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies," Guardiola said upon signing his new contract.

On course for yet another Premier League triumph, albeit with a five-point gap to make up on Arsenal, conquering Europe again is now the undoubted main aim for Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola's new contract with Manchester City will see him remain at the Etihad Stadium until 2025, when he will mark nine years at the club.

The Catalan coach has already remained in the Premier League for longer than he has at his previous roles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, finding a home within English football and establishing a dominant force with his City side.

Throughout his six and a half years in charge so far, Guardiola has been in charge of numerous superstars and club legends, with an all-time squad that would be of envy for any manager in world football.

But how exactly do you break that down into a full XI? Stats Perform has taken on the task and done exactly that.

Ederson

Guardiola made a bold choice upon his arrival in Manchester, swiftly making it clear England international Joe Hart, a two-time Premier League winner, would not fit into his plans moving forward. After a disappointing season with Claudio Bravo, Ederson arrived in 2017 and has been number one ever since.

All of Ederson's 260 appearances across all competitions have come as a starter, higher than any other player under Guardiola, while he sits fifth in the list for total appearances under the Catalan boss.

Kyle Walker

Signed from Tottenham Hotspur in 2017, Kyle Walker has been a mainstay in the City side that has dominated domestic football over the course of the past five years, ranking fifth for the most starts under Guardiola in all competitions (207).

Walker's versatility has been a key benefit for Guardiola and England, with his attacking play also fitting into City's style of play well. Since arriving at City, Walker has contributed 17 assists across all competitions, behind only Joao Cancelo (20) among defenders.

Aymeric Laporte

Among defenders during Guardiola's spell in charge, only John Stones and Walker have started more games than Laporte (155), with both players having joined the club in the seasons before Laporte's arrival from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.

A total of 163 appearances across all competitions puts him narrowly ahead of Nicolas Otamendi (161) for most games under Guardiola.

John Stones

Snapped up in 2016 as one of Guardiola's first signings, Stones has had to contend with incredible competition for his spot at the heart of the defence, with the likes of Laporte, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake all drafted in.

Despite that, Stones continues to be an important player for City and has made 175 starts under Guardiola and 206 appearances overall, ranking second in both among defenders behind only Walker.

Joao Cancelo

The versatile Portuguese full-back moved to City in 2019 from Juventus and has excelled for City, tallying 149 total appearances and 135 starts in all competitions since joining the club, and provides a huge boost in the attacking third.

A total of 20 assists puts him above any defender during Guardiola's spell in charge, even those who have been at the club far longer.

Kevin de Bruyne

Few players fit the Guardiola philosophy more than De Bruyne, who has hit new heights under the former Barcelona boss to stand among the finest players in world football – with a record in front of goal that many would envy.

De Bruyne has registered 117 assists under Guardiola, way ahead of second-place Raheem Sterling (66), while he has scored 73 goals – only behind Gabriel Jesus, Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

Ilkay Gundogan

With 205 starts under Guardiola, the midfielder has been an integral part of the City side since following the Catalan from Germany to Manchester, ranking only behind Walker, David Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne and Ederson in that regard.

Only six players have scored more goals under Guardiola than Gundogan (51), who ranks ninth for the most assists (33).

Fernandinho

The rock of City's midfield for years, Fernandinho started 200 games under Guardiola and made a total of 244 appearances, the latter seeing him rank behind only Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne and Sterling.

A total of 12 goals and 16 assists in those matches represents a decent return for a player renowned more for his defensive strength.

Bernardo Silva

Slotting into the attack ahead of Phil Foden and David Silva, both of whom have a stellar record under Guardiola, Bernardo Silva narrowly gets the nod due to his own impressive numbers in the final third.

Silva has 104 direct goal contributions (50 goals, 54 assists) in 273 appearances, starting in 208 of those matches. Only Sterling and De Bruyne have more assists under Guardiola, while Silva is one of eight players to hit the half-century mark for goals.

Sergio Aguero

In the future, Aguero's spot in the team is likely to be under significant threat from Erling Haaland following his blistering start to life at City, but the Argentine superstar retains the edge for the time being.

Aguero scored 124 goals under Guardiola, more than any other player, with Sterling the only other to have broken the century mark. Those goals came in just 183 appearances with Guardiola in charge, displaying his deadly ability in front of the net.

Raheem Sterling

An unsung hero of the Guardiola era, Sterling played 292 times under the Catalan boss, more than anyone else, while only Aguero scored more goals than Sterling (120).

Sterling also contributed 66 assists under Guardiola, sitting behind only De Bruyne, and is the only player to have scored over 100 goals and added over 50 assists under the Catalan boss.

Pep Guardiola's wildly successful reign as Manchester City manager is set to continue until 2025 after he agreed a two-year contract extension at the Etihad Stadium.

Since swapping Bayern Munich for the Premier League in 2016, Guardiola has enjoyed incredible success, winning four league titles, as many EFL Cups and the FA Cup.

However, not everything has gone to plan for Guardiola in the past six years, and his desire to end a long wait for continental glory was likely a key factor in his decision to stay with the club.

Guardiola has undoubtedly enjoyed more highs than lows during his time with City, but there have been a few bumps in the road along the way.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look back at Guardiola's major triumphs with the Citizens, as well as some of his rare failures.

Low: An underwhelming start, 2016-17 

When Guardiola agreed to take the reigns at City in 2016, hopes were high that he would make an immediate impact – his three years at Bayern had seen him deliver three Bundesliga titles, posting two of the club's three highest points tallies in their history (90 in 2013-14, 88 in 2015-16). 

However, Guardiola's focus on instilling his possession-based style attracted criticism from some, particularly when he opted to replace two-time Premier League winner Joe Hart with the more cultured if erratic Claudio Bravo.

City racked up 78 points as they finished third in 2016-17, an improvement of one place and 12 points on Manuel Pellegrini's final campaign in charge, but more was expected from the former Barcelona coach.

In a sign of things to come, City saved their most disappointing display for the Champions League, exiting on away goals after a wild 6-6 aggregate draw with Monaco in the last 16.

High: City's centurions, 2017-18 

If Guardiola's first season with City was largely forgettable, his second campaign at the helm was memorable for all the right reasons.

Most points (100), most away points (50), most wins (32), most consecutive victories (18) and best goal difference (+76) were among the Premier League records City claimed during an incredible season.

Buoyed by the signings of future stalwarts Kyle Walker, Ederson, Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte, City ultimately finished some 19 points clear of Jose Mourinho's Manchester United.

Guardiola did not even have to wait until May to get his hands on silverware, leading City to an EFL Cup final thrashing of Arsenal in February 2018.

Low: Champions League final heartache, 2021

The main criticism levelled at Guardiola throughout recent years has been his failure to win the Champions League since leaving Camp Nou in 2012.

City's nearest miss to date came in Porto in May 2021, as Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea produced a defensive masterclass to frustrate the Premier League champions en route to a 1-0 win. 

Kai Havertz's goal handed the Blues their second European crown at the Estadio do Dragao, but one of the defining images was that of Kevin De Bruyne leaving the field in tears following a heavy collision with Antonio Rudiger.

The defeat was Guardiola's first in a final with City, and just the second major final loss of his entire coaching career – after a 2011 Copa del Rey reverse to Real Madrid.

High: Domestic cup dominance, 2018-2022

While Guardiola's success is best measured in league titles, City have made several superb memories by dominating the cup competitions under his management.

Under Guardiola, City have captured the FA Cup once and the EFL Cup four times – for context, the club had only won the latter competition three times in their history before his arrival.

Guardiola's lone FA Cup triumph – sealed with a 6-0 final win over Watford in 2019 – made City the first English team to lift both domestic cups and the top-flight title in the same season.

Their rout of the Hornets also represented the biggest margin of victory in an FA Cup final since Bury beat Derby County 6-0 in 1903.

Low: Collapse at the Bernabeu, 2022

The final defeat in 2021 may be the closest Guardiola's City have come to European glory, but last season's collapse against Real Madrid was undoubtedly their most painful failure in the competition.

Holding a 5-3 aggregate lead over Madrid as the second leg entered stoppage time at the Santiago Bernabeu in May, it seemed impossible for City to fall short of a place in the final.

However, Rodrygo's incredible last-gasp brace was followed by an extra-time penalty from Karim Benzema, teeing Madrid up to claim their 14th European crown later that month.

The result handed Guardiola his sixth semi-final elimination from the Champions League – the joint-most of any coach, alongside Jose Mourinho.

High: Edging out Klopp's Reds, 2018-19 and 2021-22

All great teams need a great rival, and in Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, Guardiola's City have certainly had one.

Since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, City have amassed an incredible tally of 568 Premier League points, putting them 38 clear of Liverpool's own impressive total.

The closest title battles between the duo came in the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons, with City edging out the Reds by just a single point on the final day of both campaigns.

Two of Guardiola's four league titles have thus come at the end of close-run races with Liverpool, helping him become the most decorated manager in City's history with nine major trophies.

Pep Guardiola has signed a new two-year contract to extend his tenure as Manchester City manager until 2025.

Guardiola has enjoyed a hugely successful spell since taking over at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, winning four Premier League titles, as many EFL Cups, and the FA Cup once.

His City side have also come agonisingly close to winning the Champions League, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in each of the last five seasons and losing 1-0 to Chelsea in the 2020-21 final.

City supporters will hope the signing of striker Erling Haaland will be the final piece to the puzzle as Guardiola seeks to win Europe's elite club competition with City for the first time, having achieved it twice as Barcelona head coach.

With Guardiola's contract having previously been set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, there had been talk the 51-year-old may opt to leave, either in search of a new challenge or to go on a sabbatical period similar to the one he took after departing Barcelona.

But the Spaniard has decided to remain as City's boss and he spoke of his delight after putting pen to paper.

"I am so pleased to be staying at Manchester City for another two years," Guardiola told the club's website.

"I can't say thank you enough to everyone at the club for trusting me. I am happy and comfortable here. I have everything I need to do my job as best as possible.

"I know the next chapter of this club will be amazing for the next decade. It happened over the last 10 years, and it will happen in the next 10 years because this club is so stable.

"From day one I felt something special being here. I cannot be in a better place.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies."

 

Pep Guardiola has signed a new two-year contract to extend his tenure as Manchester City manager until 2025.

Guardiola has enjoyed a hugely successful spell since taking over at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, winning four Premier League titles, as many EFL Cups, and the FA Cup once.

His City side have also come agonisingly close to winning the Champions League, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in each of the last five seasons and losing 1-0 to Chelsea in the 2020-21 final.

City supporters will hope the signing of striker Erling Haaland will be the final piece to the puzzle as Guardiola seeks to win Europe's elite club competition with City for the first time, having achieved it twice as Barcelona head coach.

With Guardiola's contract having previously been set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, there had been talk the 51-year-old may opt to leave, either in search of a new challenge or to go on a sabbatical period similar to the one he took after departing Barcelona.

But the Spaniard has decided to remain as City's boss and he spoke of his delight after putting pen to paper.

"I am so pleased to be staying at Manchester City for another two years," Guardiola told the club's website.

"I can't say thank you enough to everyone at the club for trusting me. I am happy and comfortable here. I have everything I need to do my job as best as possible.

"I know the next chapter of this club will be amazing for the next decade. It happened over the last 10 years, and it will happen in the next 10 years because this club is so stable.

"From day one I felt something special being here. I cannot be in a better place.

"I still have the feeling there is more we can achieve together and that is why I want to stay and continue fighting for trophies."

 

Liverpool are reportedly keeping a close eye on Declan Rice's performances for England at the World Cup, and will prepare a move for the West Ham midfielder if they feel he handles the pressure of the big stage.

Rice, 23, played in all seven games for England in their run to the Euro 2020 final, and he has played in every minute of West Ham's 15 fixtures this Premier League season.

The defensive midfielder is a favourite of manager David Moyes, who declared in April that his price had risen to such an extent that "£150m just now would be minimum" – but his contract situation could force the club's hand.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL WATCHING IF RICE CAN RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

According to Football Insider, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a "huge admirer" of the man with 35 international caps already under his belt, but he still wants to see more.

The report claims Liverpool will be paying attention to "how Rice copes with the type of scrutiny and huge-game pressure he does not get at West Ham, who do not compete in the Champions League or challenge for trophies".

Rice's contract ties him to the club until 2024, although there is a club-option to extend the contract for an extra year.

He turned down a bumper new deal earlier this year that would have paid him £200,000 per week, indicating this will likely be his last contract with West Ham, and that factor will drive his price down the longer the club waits.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport are reporting Manchester City are close to locking up Pep Guardiola on a new contract through 2025.

- According to 90min, Tottenham are eyeing Everton's Jordan Pickford, Brentford's David Raya and Brighton's Robert Sanchez as potential replacements for 35-year-old club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Chelsea's Christian Pulisic will likely be headed to the Serie A, per Fichajes, with Inter and Juventus said to be competing for his signature in January.

- AS are reporting Atletico Madrid will loan out Joao Felix in January after a lack of transfer interest.

- Newcastle United will make another run at 21-year-old Watford forward Joao Pedro, according to Football Insider, after having a £30m offer rejected before the season.

Manchester United are looking sever ties with Cristiano Ronaldo following his explosive interview this week, according to reports.

United put out a statement that they are taking "appropriate steps in response to Cristiano's recent media interview".

That has fuelled speculation his contract – which is due to run out at the end of the season – will be torn up.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AND FIORENTINA READY FOR JANUARY RONALDO MOVES

The Mirror claims Chelsea are ready to reignite their interest in Cristiano Ronaldo in January, while Italian reports have linked Fiorentina with him too.

Blues owner Todd Boehly was keen on the 37-year-old during the last transfer window but nothing materialised. However, following their slow start to the season and head coach Thomas Tuchel's exit, Chelsea may be back in for the under-fire Portugal international.

Calciomercatoweb claims Fiorentina could also make a move in January, with wealthy owner Rocco B Commisso ready to offer him a lucrative deal.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City loom as an option for Lionel Messi, according to El Nacional. City are managed by Messi's former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, who could lure him to England. Barca are eager to secure a return for Messi, whose contract with Paris Saint-Germain ends in mid-2023, but he has deferred all talks on his future until after the World Cup.

- The Sun on Sunday claims Chelsea will keep a close eye on Everton's Jordan Pickford with England during the World Cup as Boehly considers a move for a new goalkeeper.

- Chelsea are considering moving for Aston Villa's Leon Bailey, according to the Mail on Sunday. Jamaica international Bailey is close friends with Blues winger Raheem Sterling.

- Milan are contemplating a January move for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, whose agents approached the Italian champions. Aouar's contract expires at the end of this season.

- Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho is set to see his wages multiply 10 times on a bumper new contract, claims the Daily Star. The Argentine's new deal would see his wages rise from £5,000 to around £50,000.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.