History-makers Manchester City celebrate as Pep Guardiola hints at exit

Spaniard guided club to an unprecedented fourth Premier League title in a row, but says he is 'closer to leaving than to staying'

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Celebrations may still be in full swing, but Manchester City supporters will soon have to face the reality that manager Pep Guardiola's time at the club is nearing an end, according to the man himself.

City made history Sunday by claiming a fourth Premier League title in a row – and a sixth in seven seasons.

The battle for top spot went down to the final day but the reigning champions held their nerve at the Etihad Stadium. Phil Foden’s fantastic double got City off to a dream start against West Ham and, having been shaken by Mohammed Kudus’ outrageous overhead kick, a driven Rodri effort completed a 3-1 win.

It rendered Arsenal's 2-1 win at home over Everton, courtesy of a last-minute Kai Havertz winner, redundant as City claimed the title by two points.

“In terms of numbers, nobody has been better than us – the records, the goals, the points and four in a row,” said Guardiola, who praised Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta and departing Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

“If I land here tomorrow and you say I will win six Premier Leagues in seven years, I would say ‘Are you crazy?’. It’s impossible. We have done something unbelievable.

“Six Premier Leagues in seven years, in this country with the modern football and the teams and everything. The teams and the organisation surprises me, it’s an incredible club.”

It was the 12th league title of Guardiola's 15 seasons as a top-flight manager having also won Spain and Germany's domestic championships with Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively.

The City boss, whose deal at the Etihad Stadium runs to June 2025, admitted he is running out of things to motivate him.

“The reality is I’m closer to leaving than to staying,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “It’s eight years, will be nine.

“Right now my feeling is I want to stay next season. We talked with the club, we have time to talk next season because I have to see the players as well, [to see] if they follow me, they follow us, for many reasons. I will stay and during the season we will talk when calm.”

Asked in the press conference if he feels like he has completed English football and what he felt was left to achieve, Guardiola shrugged his shoulders and said: “I had that feeling last season.

“When we won in Istanbul [in the Champions League final] I said, ‘It’s over, what am I doing here? It’s over, there’s nothing left’.

“But I have a contract, I’m here and still enjoying. Some of the moments I’m a bit tired but some of the moments I love, and after I said ‘OK, we are here’.

“[We] start winning games, looking good, different players, new players and I start to think about, ‘No-one has done four in a row, why don’t we try?’ And now I feel ‘It’s done, so what next?’ I don’t know right now."

It is not the first time this season the Spaniard has hinted at his future with the club.

Following December's Club World Cup win over Brazilian side Fluminense – the fifth trophy City won in 2023 – Guardiola spoke of "a feeling we close a chapter" and that "there is nothing else to win. I have the feeling the job is done, [it] is over."

City could still end the season with more silverware as they take on local rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley this Saturday.

A league-and-cup double would come hot on the heels of last season’s treble, where Guardiola guided City to a first Champions League title.

“I know next is the FA Cup. Gary Lineker said to me, I didn’t know, that no team has done back-to-back Premier Leagues and FA Cups.

“It is our rivals and now what I want is for my players is to enjoy this two, three days, then we have two days to prepare the final.”

Updated: May 20, 2024, 7:39 AM