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 spoken out on a tense meeting with the club’s owners in which he threatened to quit over a Financial Fair Play [FFP] dispute. The Sky Blues were slapped with a two-year Champions League ban back in 2020, which has since been overturned, and it almost prompted their esteemed manager to jump ship. 

City came under fire in 2020 for allegedly disguising cash injections from their wealthy owners as inflated sponsorship deals, thus breaching FFP regulations. Initially, the club was slapped with a whopping £25million fine and a crushing two-year ban from European competition. 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) eventually overturned the verdict on appeal, however, while upholding £9m of the fine due to lack of cooperation. On Friday, Guardiola launched a passionate defence of City’s owners whom he wholeheartedly believes acted within the necessary guidelines, but admitted he would have quit if the club were lying to him.

“Every single word I have said, even if people didn’t believe it, every word I said I said was because I truly, truly believe (the club),” 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 had done something, I said to them, ‘tell me.’ I say 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.’ I looked at them and believed them 100 percent from day one. So I defend the club because of that.

“Because, when we put something (a sponsorship) on the shirt, they 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. They have to handle that.

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“Nine teams in the Premier League wanted to sack Manchester City from European competitions. They pushed and I know who they are, so I liked it when CAS [overturned the ruling]. I like to represent a club that is doing things properly. In the end it’s not about winning the Champions League or the Premier League, it’s about always doing it well, for our people and our fans.”

If Newcastle, Liverpoool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Leicester, Wolves and Burnley had each got their wish then City’s two-year ban would have been upheld, preventing them from reaching the Champions League semi-finals this campaign. Two-legged knockout victories over Sporting Lisbon and Atletico Madrid saw them advance to the last four, where heartbreak was on the horizon against Real Madrid.  

Riyad Mahrez’s second-half goal gave City a two-goal buffer at the Bernabeu with 20 minutes remaining. But Rodrygo scored two goals at the death to force extra-time, and Karim Benzema confidently converted a penalty to land the Sky Blues with a crushing defeat after they were moments away from victory. 

They will be back for another crack next year with Guardiola still at the helm, despite his threat to quit over City’s legal troubles. There is talk of the former Barcelona boss signing a new deal until 2025, following the lead of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp who recently locked down his future on Merseyside. 

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