Revealed! Pep Guardiola’s future after Man City's two-year ban from the Champions League

By Mirror: Saturday, February 15th 2020 at 14:47 GMT +3 | Football
Pep Guardiola's Man City fate

Pep Guardiola claimed he could be sacked by Manchester City if he fails to lead them to Champions League success this season.

But it is UEFA who may ultimately have sealed Guardiola's fate, after European football's governing body banned City from the Champions League for two years.

City's two-year exile from European football's most prestigious and lucrative competition, for breaking Financial Fair Play rules, is a savage blow to the reputation of the world's richest club.

But the bigger concern for City is where the decision leaves Guardiola, whose future is now in even graver doubt set against the backdrop of the club's Champions League expulsion.

The ban facing City could also end up ripping apart their double Premier League title-winning squad, with many players ready to move elsewhere to enable them to play at the highest level in Europe.

Guardiola was brought to City to deliver the Champions League and, after leading them to back-to-back league titles with record-breaking totals, conquering Europe was the next step for the Blues.

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But that ambition is now in ruins, unless Guardiola can manage to deliver the Champions League this season, before City begin their two-year suspension for “serious” breaches of FFP.

Guardiola is already wanted by Europe's top clubs, including Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, and the imminent ban will test his loyalty to City, with one year remaining on his current contract.

The 49-year-old has prided himself on never having broken a contract at previous clubs Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and has been adamant he will see out his existing deal with City.

But is arguably the most coveted boss in world football going to stay at a club where the extent of the challenge for the next two years is the domestic title, assuming City's appeal fails?

The answer is almost certainly a resounding 'no', with UEFA's seismic decision providing Guardiola with the perfect exit strategy, despite his perceived loyalty to City and those who run the club.

But the fall-out from the ban will not just be restricted to Guardiola, with City facing a potential mass exodus of players who will not be prepared to sacrifice the Champions League for two years.

The likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling may ultimately decide, in the wake of UEFA's extraordinary move, that their careers are best served by moving on elsewhere.

There will certainly be no shortage of takers for City's star names, with rival clubs sensing the ban as the opportunity to land targets that were previously considered unattainable.

UEFA's decision has left City in the grip of a crisis, despite the club's expected belligerent response and announcement that it intends to appeal the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Having been found guilty of inflating the true value of sponsorship deals and failing to cooperate with UEFA in its investigation, City's reputation in world football is today in tatters.

But the true cost to City could prove to be even greater in the coming months, as the club face the prospect of losing their boss, star players and ultimately their standing on football's world stage.

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