Joan Laporta has said he wants Pep Guardiola to return as Barcelona coach next summer if he is successfully elected as the club’s president.
Laporta has announced his intention to stand in the club’s 2021 election in a bid to return to the post he previously held between 2003 and 2010.
During that period, he appointed Guardiola as the coach of Barca B and then promoted him to the first team job in 2008.
Guardiola, 49, has since gone on to coach Bayern Munich and Manchester City. He has been in charge of the English side since 2016 and has a contract until the end of next season — just before the Camp Nou elections are due to take place.
“I would really like Guardiola to return, but right now he’s at City and it’s a decision he must make,” Laporta told Spanish television station TV3. “He is a reference point for this club and many supporters would love to see him coaching Barca again.
“When the moment is right, I will speak with the person we believe should be Barca’s manager from 2021.”
Guardiola, who won 14 trophies as Barca boss, has previously stated he does not see himself coaching the club again, although he has left the door open to a role with the academy.
However, there has been speculation about his future at City. If he fulfils his current deal, he will have spent five seasons with the Premier League club — one more than he spent with Barca and two more than with Bayern.
There have been reports that he could take over Juventus but he has always said his focus is on City. His commitment to the club could be tested if they lose their appeal against UEFA’s two-season ban from the Champions League.
Former Barca midfielder Xavi, who played under Guardiola, is another player who has been touted as a potential Camp Nou coach following the 2021 election.
“Xavi is someone that lives for football and he will decide when the moment is right,” Laporta said of the Al-Sadd coach. “You have to think that in 2021 there will still be players that played with him and he will have to decide if he’s ready to coach ex-teammates, which is not easy.
“But he is honest. He knows a lot about football and he loves the game. He will make the correct decision. Sooner or later, he will end up coaching Barca.”
Xavi, who turned down the chance to replace Ernesto Valverde in January because the timing wasn’t right, has been lined up by another presidential candidate, Victor Font, to take over in 2021.
Coach Quique Setien has a deal until 2022 but there is a clause in his contract which would allow a new president to end his deal one year early.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, the Barca president, will not be able to stand for re-election as he has served two terms.