Pep Guardiola admits threatening to quit Man City during tense meeting with owners

Pep Guardiola hasn't spoken to his players since Real Madrid defeat

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has detailed how he threatened to quit the club over a Financial Fair Play (FFP) row. The Sky Blues were slapped with a massive fine and a two-year ban from European competition in 2020, which has since been overturned, and the Spaniard launched a passionate defence of the club’s wealthy owners. 

City came under fire two years ago for allegedly disguising cash injections from their owners through inflated shirt sponsorship deals. UEFA ruled it as a serious FFP breach, fining the club £27million and banishing them from the Champions League for two years. 

Several months later, The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the ban and reduced the fine to £9m, which stayed in place due to the club’s failure to cooperate. While scepticism remains over the state of City’s finances, Guardiola wholeheartedly believes that the owners have acted within the necessary guidelines. 

“Every single word I have said in all my conferences, even if people don’t believe it, every word I said I said was because I truly, truly believe it,” he said. “If I defend the people and the club it’s because I work with them.

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“When I asked about suspicions or if our people have done something, then I say to them, ‘tell me.’ I said to them ‘if you lie to me, the day after, I’m not here, I will be out and you will not be my friend any more.’ But I look at them and believe them 100 per cent from day one.

“So I defend the club because of that. When we put something (a sponsorship) on the shirt people say it’s overpaid. They say the money has come from the state and other places – but the money is correct. It might be higher, but it is correct.

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“They have to handle that. Nine teams in the Premier League wanted to sack Manchester City from European competition. They pushed and I know who they are.”

Arsenal, Burnley, Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham and Wolves all wrote to CAS requesting that City’s European ban be upheld. Once the ban was overturned, the club claimed it was ‘validation of their position’. 

They were subsequently allowed to compete in last season’s Champions League, which saw them go on a run to the final, and this year’s competition which saw them agonisingly dumped out by Real Madrid when they were minutes away from reaching the same stage for a second year running. 

Although Guardiola threatened to walk out on the club over their contentious legal battle, there is now speculation that a contract extension until 2025 is in the works. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp recently tied down his future on Merseyside, and Guardiola described the German as ‘the greatest rival in his career’. 

City’s ability to boast Guardiola is set to help them land Erling Haaland this summer, and recent reports indicate that a sensational move for Paul Pogba could be on the cards too.

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