Guardiola signs new deal to remain at Man City until 2021

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola celebrates winning the 2018 Premier League title with players and fans. If he completes five years at the Abu Dhabi-owned club, for which he has signed a contract extension, it would represent his longest tenure in a coaching job. (AFP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Guardiola signs new deal to remain at Man City until 2021

  • Guardiola moved to Manchester in 2016 and endured criticism through a trophyless first season but he completed his second campaign at City this month as a double winner.
  • He spent four years at Barcelona, winning three Spanish league titles and the Champions League twice among 13 honors.

LONDON: Pep Guardiola, fresh from winning the Premier League title, has signed a new Manchester City contract through 2021 to make the strongest long-term commitment of his managerial career.
Completing five years at the Abu Dhabi-owned club would represent Guardiola’s longest tenure in a coaching job.
He spent four years at Barcelona, winning three Spanish league titles and the Champions League twice among 13 honors.
After taking a sabbatical, Guardiola took charge of Bayern Munich and won the Bundesliga in each of his three years in Germany.
Guardiola moved onto Manchester in 2016 and endured criticism through a trophyless first season but he completed his second campaign at City this month as a double winner.
After collecting the League Cup in February, City sealed the Premier League with five games to spare.

“I am so happy and excited. It’s a pleasure to be able to work here,” Guardiola said Thursday. “I enjoy working with our players every day and we will try to do our best together in the coming years.
“As a manager, you have to feel good to be with the players — and I feel good.”
Guardiola’s principle target at City is to deliver the club’s first Champions League title.
“I will focus on the desire of my players to become a better team and every day that’s what I will try to do — to improve on the pitch and improve our players,” the 47-year-old Guardiola said.
“We have a young squad with an average age of 23 and we want to keep taking steps forward and maintain the levels we’ve achieved this season.”
City appears to have found stability after a decade under Abu Dhabi ownership, with a manager aiming to cement the team’s dominance after winning three titles since 2012.
“In his two seasons with us, he has fostered an incredible spirit within the squad and significantly contributed to our progress both on and off the field,” City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said.
“In doing so he has embodied the passion and commitment we all have for the club. I am very much looking forward to the continued impact of his work and to fulfilling our shared ambitions in the coming seasons.”


Ali Al-Habsi confident of prolonged Al-Hilal success under Jorge Jesus after Super Cup win

Updated 19 August 2018
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Ali Al-Habsi confident of prolonged Al-Hilal success under Jorge Jesus after Super Cup win

  • Eduardo had been absent since December after suffering the dreaded cruciate knee ligament injury
  • He made his competitive comeback against Al-Shabab on Sunday but announced his full return to form and fitness against Al-Ittihad in London

LONDON: Ali Al-Hasbi was thrilled Carlos Eduardo emerged as the star of the Saudi Super Cup final, believing his goal was a fitting reward for the torment he went through during his spell out injured.
Eduardo had been absent since December after suffering the dreaded cruciate knee ligament injury in the first leg of the AFC Champions League final with Urawa Reds.
He had a complex operation in Brazil and has spent this year building up the strength in his knee with some long and lonely hours in the gym.
He made his competitive comeback against Al-Shabab on Sunday but announced his full return to form and fitness against Al-Ittihad in London on Saturday night, scoring the first in a 2-1 win over the Tigers.
The nature of his celebration – a double knee slide to the corner – demonstrated the confidence he now has in the joint and the relief that his injury hell is over.
“It’s fantastic for him,” Al-Habsi, the Omani goalkeeper, told Arab News as he did a lap of honor with the trophy around the pitch.
“He has been out for seven months and to come back, play like that, score a goal is fantastic. It’s unbelievable as it was a bad injury and he had to work really hard to recover.”
Gelmin Rivas got the second goal to ensure Jorge Jesus launched his reign as coach by winning the Saudi Super Cup, making a statement in the process that Al-Hilal will again be the team to beat this season.
“It’s fantastic to get a start like this,” said Al-Habsi. “It’s a brilliant to win a derby game and it’s always tough against them. We have made the fans very happy and we can now push for the start of the season. I believe we can win a lot of trophies if we can push hard.”
Jesus came in to replace Ramon Diaz who, ironically, was in charge of Al-Ittihad on Saturday night. Jesus won everything in Portugal and he is expected to deliver similar success at Al-Hilal.
“He’s been fantastic since he has come in,” said Al-Habsi. “We did some good work with him in Austria, he has got some good ideas and I think we are going to do well under him. It’s the perfect start that we won this trophy under him.”
Al-Habsi turns 37 in December and this is his 20th season as a professional, but he is showing no signs of aging and looks set to start the season as No. 1 ahead of Abdullah Al-Mayouf.
“I still feel very good,” he said. “I feel very fit and I am very pleased. I’m really enjoying life at Al-Hilal. It’s a massive club.”
The game in Loftus Road, in front of more than 16,000 boisterous fans, was quite the introduction to football in Saudi Arabia for Aleksandar Pesic. The Serbian arrived at Al-Ittihad this summer from Red Star Belgrade and he made a difference after coming on as a half-time substitute.
“The first half we didn’t play very well but we were more attacking in the second half after the coach changed things,” he told Arab News. “But we conceded two goals because of mistakes. But this is football. It was a very strong game.”
Al-Ittihad finished ninth last season but they should be aiming much higher than that this season on the evidence of things against Al-Hilal.
“If we play like this in the league, I think we will have a good chance for the championship,” Pesic said. “Maybe we win, maybe we lose but we will always give 100 percent, then I believe we can do good things. We will try to be champions.”
It will be a tough ask to finish ahead of Al-Hilal, though. They won the league last season and look even stronger following the additions of Alberto Botia, Andre Carrillo and Omar Abdulrahman.
“It’s a very good team, a very compact team with a good coach and good players,” said Pesic. “They are very tough to play against and I’m sure they will have a strong season.”