Pep Guardiola believes Ronald Koeman deserves to stay on as Barcelona boss for another season.
Koeman admitted it was a relief to see speculation over his future as Barca head coach ended last week when president Joan Laporta confirmed he would remain in charge for the 2021-22 season.
It followed a period where Laporta sought out other potential candidates while Koeman remained in his post, with some controversy when the president was criticised by the head coach’s representatives for comments about his health.
The Dutchman led Barca to Copa del Rey glory last season, though fell short in La Liga and the Champions League, having taken over at a turbulent period that saw Lionel Messi request to leave following a fallout with former president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Luis Suarez controversially sold to eventual champions Atletico Madrid.
Former Barca teammates Koeman and Guardiola were golfing together with their sons last week, with the Manchester City boss thrilled at Laporta’s decision.
“Koeman is the ideal coach for next season, I spoke to Laporta and I am very happy the president is convinced,” Guardiola said to Cadena SER.
“I am a good friend of Ronald. It has been a difficult year for everyone and Ronald deserves one more year, with people in the stadium.
“Besides, second years are always better.
“At times the team has played very well, they are among those who played better football in Spain.
“They fell at the end when he was close to winning and Atletico won the league, but he won the cup and in general were very good.”
Guardiola was one of the names briefly connected with the Camp Nou post when Laporta referenced his dream to bring the Catalan back to the club he coached so successfully from 2008 to 2012.
“I have a two-year contract at Manchester, I’m happy and so it will continue to be,” Guardiola said.
He recently saw one of his top young prospects and an experienced stalwart swap City for Barca after the Catalans signed Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero on free transfers.
Guardiola had warm words for both players, predicting Garcia to become a future Camp Nou star.
“Aguero and Eric Garcia are two great signings – Kun is a scorer,” Guardiola added.
“With Eric I will tell Koeman that he has a spectacular fit, he is a good guy, really intelligent. He will be one of the captains of the next decade.”