Gombau announces shock exit from Adelaide

Adelaide United title-winning coach Josep Gombau has quit the Reds citing personal reasons for his shock decision. 

Gombau has taken a post at the junior academy of cashed-up MLS outfit New York City - a sister club to Melbourne City.

But the former Barcelona youth coach said the reason for the decision was closer to home.

"The decision is because of family and finding a balance between my work and family life,"he said.

Gombau said it was the hardest decision of his career.

The 39-year-old, contracted to the club until the end of the 2016/17 season, was released by the club on compassionate grounds.

Adelaide Technical Director and Barcelona legend Guillermo Amor will take over as head coach.

Gombau said: “It was a very hard decision, one that I thought about a lot and one that’s probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my life, but for family reasons I need to leave.

“The last two years at the club has been such an amazing time, one I will always cherish. Together, as a club, we developed a brand and style of football that the people enjoy, along with a trophy for the club, and with that I am satisfied.”

Gombau said he was leaving the club in good hands.

"No one would do the job better than Guillermo," he said.

"In Spain, Amor was my mentor when I arrived at Barcelona and he took me and helped me. He's more than ready for this challenge.

"I wish Guillermo the best of luck and I am the happiest person for his appointment."

Gombau spoke of his legacy.

"When I came I wanted to put a new philosophy into the club we wanted a new style.

"We wanted to introduce more Sout Australian-born players into the club and we wanted to bring people to our games.

"These are the things we have done and we have achieved our goals so far

"Through this process we had good days and we won the FFA Cup and earned a spot in the Asian Champions League."

The flamboyant Spaniard revolutionsed the Reds playing style, introducing a latin flair and signing several skilled imports including compatiots and Barcelona youth products Sergio Cirio and Isaias Sanchez.

It took the fomer Barcelona youth team coach time to work his majic and after a string of poor results early, Adelaide finished sixth in 2013-14.

But the following year Adelaide lifted silverware for the first time in 10 years when they defeated Perth Glory in the final of the FFA Cup. The club went on to finish third in the 2014-15 A-League season, behind Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.

Gombau saved special thanks for the club's fans: "I will never forget the way you've treated me."

His successor, Amor, is a former FC Barcelona legend playing as a midfielder for the Spanish giants. He will step into the head coaching role from August 1.

Amor said: “For me, to accept this position is a very important decision to make. For anyone who loves and lives for football and has dedicated their life to it for so many years like me, when you get this chance it’s a true cause for joy.

“Josep is a very dear friend of mine, and he, and the club, have placed their trust in me through a difficult time. This trust means a lot to me and I am very excited and very eager to get to work, but above everything I want to enjoy and succeed.

“Myself, along with the rest of the staff, will give everything to allow this team to continue its growth and I think there’s still a lot of growth that can happen.

“My message for the fans is to remain confident in the team, as they have done so far.

"Support the team as you have been doing with Josep in every game and keep the good atmosphere that prevails throughout the city, because I believe if that happens things can become much easier.”

Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin addressed a media conference to make the shock announcement.

"It is with deep regret that Josep Gombau will no longer continue as head of the Adelaide United Football Club," he said. "It has been agreed that Josep's contract to be cancelled.

"Josep has transformed our style and our club and he has revolutionised our football club

"It is with great pleasure that we announce Guillermo Amor to be the new head-coach of our club as of August 1

"This is to be a seamless transition and considering the circumstances it's moved very smoothly."

Amor played more than 500 games for FC Barcelona and was capped 37 times for Spain during the 1990s, highlights include representing his country during the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 1996. 

He also played for Italy’s Fiorentina in the Serie A as well as Villareal in Spain.

He was the first player to progress through all the teams at Barcelona, from youth development to playing first team, and is regarded as one of the most important players in the entire history of FC Barcelona. 

He returned to Barcelona after completing his professional career and completing a UEFA Pro Licence, where he was appointed the Director of the Youth Academy while his good friend and former teammate Pep Guardiola was Barcelona’s head coach.

Guillermo was Pep Guardiola’s partner in midfield during his successful playing career at Barcelona as well as being a mentor to the now Bayern Munich coach.

And while he was mainly involved in the day-to-day activities of the Barcelona youth, he was still able to experience the glory of the Xavi, Iniesta and Messi era when Barcelona won three consecutive La Liga titles and a Champions League trophy.