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08.05.2008 19:00

Rijkaard until 30th June; Guardiola to take over

David Saura

This Thursday the Board of Directors agreed that Frank Rijkaard will leave the Club at the end of the season. Barça B coach, Josep Guardiola, will take over the reins of the first team after 30th June.

Speaking at a press conference held after this afternoon’s Board meeting, Club president Joan Laporta announced the decision to relieve the Dutch coach of his duties and praised the contribution he has made over the last few seasons: “He’s done an excellent job and behaved excellently. We will remember Frank Rijkaard as the coach who led the recovery of the team and in three years took it to the glory of Paris”.

"An exceptional record"

Laporta describe Frank Rijkaard’s record with the first team as “exceptional”: two Spanish league titles, two Super Cups and a Champions League title. He stressed that Rijkaard’s achievements “should not be obscured by the results of the last two seasons”. He added: “We can conclude that Frank Rijkaard has made history”.

The end of a cycle

Joan Laporta explained that although Frank Rijkaard still had a year left on his contract, it was time for a change: “It’s the end of a cycle and the results haven’t gone our way. It’s proof that the mistakes we detected last year haven’t been corrected”.

Guardiola, renewed continuity

LAPORTA-anunci_Guardiola_x2x.jpgThe president also spoke about Josep Guardiola , the man who will take over from Frank Rijkaard next season: “We believe in Guardiola to lead the new sporting project. He guarantees renewed continuity in the footballing style that has given us success”.

Guardiola's qualities

Referring to Guardiola’s capacity to take on the task, Laporta told reporters: "He has the knowledge, the enthusiasm, the self confidence and the love for the Club that are necessary”. Guardiola will be officially unveiled later on, when Barça B finish their participation in the play-offs to Second Division B.

The Board’s decision to appoint Guardiola was taken unanimously.

A moment for self-criticism

Mr Laporta, who announced that the season and the players would be evaluated at the end of the season, also accepted some of the blame for the way the season has gone: “I am also responsible. I’m sure we haven’t made the right decisions. Decisions have been taken that just didn’t work

"The players haven’t responded to the hopes we, and the coach, had in them. We had put together one of the best squads in the world”.

Rijkaard until 30th June; Guardiola to take over

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Laporta tells Rijkaard in person
Joan Laporta spoke in person to Frank Rijkaard this morning after training to inform him of the decision to relieve him of his duties after 30th June: “He was very elegant. It was a very emotional moment. It’s difficult for me to find any fault with him”.

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