Pep fires back at Barca after jibe over ban

Sports | 21 Feb 2020

Pep Guardiola went to war with former club Barcelona yesterday as Manchester City's manager defended his current employers in the wake of a European ban.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has "thanked" European governing body Uefa for banning reigning Premier League champions City from the Champions League and Europa League for two years.

But the Catalan club have problems of their own, being accused of hiring a social media firm to hurt the reputations of figures including the City boss and their own striker Lionel Messi as part of an attempt to strengthen the Barca board's position.

Guardiola reacted angrily on the cases after a 2-0 win over West Ham.

"If they are happy we are suspended I'd say to the president of Barcelona, give us the right to appeal," he said.

"But don't talk too loud, Barcelona," he added. "Because everybody's involved sometimes in situations. But we are going to appeal and hopefully we can play in the Champions League against Barcelona."

Guardiola was speaking out for the first time since City were found guilty by Uefa of financial fair play breaches that led to the two-year ban.

It also caused speculation Guardiola would be quitting City. But Guardiola insisted he will not leave the club.

"It is not finished because the club believe it's unfair, and we are optimistic that in the end truth will prevail and next season, if we qualify for the Champions League, we will be there.

"If they don't sack me - and that can happen - I will stay here 100 per cent."

In the short term, City go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to fight the Uefa decision.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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