Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has dismissed reports claiming he will be Chelsea's next manager as fantasy.
Guardiola's contract with the Catalan club expires at the end of the season and he has been repeatedly linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge. However, speaking before the first leg of his side's Champions League semi-final fixture against the Blues, the former Barcelona midfielder laughed off the rumours.
Pep Guardiola embraces Lionel Messi after Barcelona's triumph over Chelsea in the 2009 Champions League semi-final
"It is fantasy, it's hypothetical. I am coach of Barcelona now and they [Chelsea] have a good manager who is getting unbelievable results. It's not useful for Chelsea or for Barcelona to talk about that. There is no time to talk about that," the Daily Mail quoted Guardiola as saying.
The former Spain international was also reluctant to confirm whether he would stay on at Barcelona after the end of this season.
"I just want to focus on the game. This is a dream come true, to be here ahead of this great game. I just want to make sure my players are focused on the game and can enjoy playing matches like that," he explained.
The build-up to Wednesday's match has been dominated by talk of revenge as the tie is a rematch of the controversial 2009 semi-final second leg between the same teams. That night, an Andres Iniesta screamer in injury time sent Barca through to the final on away goals. Football fans will no doubt remember that semi-final vividly, be it for Iniesta's goal or Norwegian official Tom Henning Overbo's questionable refereeing.
"A long time has passed. I don't think they are playing for revenge. What you have lost, is lost. We will both be playing to try to reach the final in Munich," Guardiola said, playing down talk that Chelsea players were desperate for payback.
After the 2009 semi-final clash with Chelsea, Barcelona have gone a long way, winning two Champions League titles and three La Liga crowns. They are now acknowledged by pundits and fans as one of the greatest football teams of all-time. Chelsea, on the other hand, are surely no longer the force they once were. They are struggling for a top four spot in the league and even their European journey so far has been far from convincing.
Furthermore, despite the London club's commendable revival under interim boss Roberto Di Matteo, they have been written off by pundits and bookies in their match against the Spanish giants. However, the Barcelona manager dismissed his sides' "favourites" tag.
"They [Chelsea] have the same spirit, the same soul, the same foundation. They've changed the manager and a couple of players, but the same players are largely there. I'm struggling to see how we'll hurt them, create chances and score. We shouldn't forget they've been very consistent here in this stadium, winning all five of their [Champions League] games. We're the holders at the moment, so everyone wants to beat us and play well against us," the 41 year old added.
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