Soccer

Pep Guardiola inks new deal with Manchester City until 2021

AFP-JIJI

Pep Guardiola signed a new deal to remain as Man City coach until 2021 on Thursday after a record-breaking season that saw the club run away with the Premier League title.

Guardiola masterminded a historic campaign as City became the first side in English soccer history to achieve 100 points in a top-flight campaign, adding the title to their League Cup triumph.

The 47-year-old claimed his strong relationship with City’s vibrant young squad had convinced him to extend his stay at Etihad Stadium.

“I am so happy and excited. It’s a pleasure to be able to work here,” Guardiola said.

“I enjoy working with our players every day and we will try to do our best together in the coming years.

“As a manager, you have to feel good to be with the players — and I feel good.”

Guardiola had one season left on his City deal before signing the new two-year extension.

If he completes the whole length of his new contract, Guardiola will have spent five years at City, longer than his time in charge of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The Spaniard left Barcelona after four seasons as manager to take a sabbatical and spent three years at Bayern before joining City in 2016.

Throughout the second half of the season, Guardiola had said he did not intend to discuss his future until the summer.

But City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners have given the green light to the improved terms within four days of City’s last game of the season — a 1-0 win at Southampton that took it to the 100-point milestone.

City scored 106 goals and claimed 32 wins, both Premier League records, with the only frustration being its Champions League quarterfinal exit against Liverpool.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak saluted Guardiola’s ability to unify his squad of rising young talents and established stars.

“In his two seasons with us, he has fostered an incredible spirit within the squad and significantly contributed to our progress both on and off the field,” he said.

“In doing so he has embodied the passion and commitment we all have for the club.”