Pep Guardiola can extend his contract for as long as he wants, the Barcelona club president Sandro Rosell said yesterday, adding that he hopes the coach will emulate the long-serving Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Guardiola, 39, has led the Spanish champions to eight trophies, including the 2009 Champions League and the Club World Cup, in his two-and-a-half seasons. He has given no indication he plans to leave, but he has yet to agree an extension beyond the current season.
That has led to some newspaper speculation that Chelsea might be able to prise him away from the Camp Nou.
Ferguson, who will be 69 on New Year's Eve, surpassed Matt Busby's record of 24 years, one month and 13 days in the job on Sunday and has won 11 English league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions Leagues.
"I would like [Guardiola] to be the Ferguson of Barca," Rosell, who took over as president at the end of last season, said while looking back on 2010.
"And later the Beckenbauer," he added, referring to the former Bayern Munich player and coach Franz Beckenbauer who is now honorary president of the Bundesliga club. "That is to say, that after coaching the team he becomes club president."
Rosell said that club officials and Guardiola, who came through the Barca youth ranks, had yet to discuss a contract extension. He said that he favoured renewing from season to season and that there was no rush.
"There is a process needed for everything so that things are done well," he said. "But I don't see any problem. He knows that he can extend his contract for as many years as he wants. Pep is from Barca, he feels Barca and he understands the club. He always thinks about the club first, and that is the big difference between him and the others."