Pep Guardiola may claim his next managerial job will be in the international game, but the bookmakers believe he could be persuaded to delay his national team ambitions when he does depart Manchester City.
Having enjoyed trophy-laden spells with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Guardiola has picked up a host of trophies since arriving in Manchester in 2016. He has led City to three Premier League titles, and FA Cup success and four consecutive EFL Cup Final victories.
The UEFA Champions League has so far eluded him, but City got a step closer to making that European breakthrough last season when they made it to the final, only to lose to domestic rivals Chelsea.
They are leading contenders to go all the way this time around, but time is running out for Guardiola after he reportedly admitted he plans on departing the Etihad Stadium when his contract ends in 2023.
“My next step will be a national team, if there is a possibility,” he said during an appearance at XP Investimentos event. “A national team is the next step.
“After seven years on this team, I think I’m going to have a stop. I’m going to have to take a break and see what we’ve done. And in the process, I would like to train a South American team, a European [national side] and [coach in a] Copa America.”
While it is understandable that Guardiola has all of those aims, the bookmakers believe he could be persuaded to put them on hold if one of European football’s biggest clubs comes calling at the end of his City reign.
According to the latest football tips, Barcelona are heavily tipped as the favourites to capture Guardiola with top bookmakers at 2/1. He won three La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Super Cups, two Copa del Reys and three Spanish Super Cups during his previous reign, and it would be a shock if the Catalan giants did not make a play for him when he is a free agent once again.
Guardiola is yet to try his hand in Italy or France, and should he fancy a fresh challenge the bookies believe he could be drawn to Juventus at 9/4 or Paris St Germain at 10/1.
The most likely national team candidates are Spain at 6/1 and Brazil at 12/1. Coaching Brazil would give him a shot at the Copa America and a very realistic chance of adding at least one major piece of international silverware to his glittering CV before he calls time on his career.
But could Guardiola decide to remain in England beyond his time at City? The English national team have improved considerably under Gareth Southgate, reaching the World Cup Final in 2018 and Euro 2020 Final this past summer. But if Southgate does not bring World Cup glory next year could the FA make a play for Guardiola? The odds on the England national team being his next job are 25/1.