Crushing blow to the West London lads
Former Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola has confirmed his decision to join every club except Chelsea, dealing a bitter blow to Chelsea and a huge boost to nearly 500,000 other teams.
When Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich axed Roberto Di Matteo at the end of November and brought in Rafa Benitez as interim manager, it was believed to be with a view to appointing Guardiola in the summer.
However, Guardiola has issued what must be regarded as a snub to Chelsea's attentions by opting instead to sign a deal with all other football teams.
"There has been a lot of talk in the media saying that I am going to manage Chelsea next season," Guardiola acknowledged to FourFourTwo.
"I think Chelsea are a great and prestigious club, but I want to make it clear that my immediate future lies with every club that isn't Chelsea."
The role of not Chelsea boss is a challenging one, requiring Guardiola to mastermind the progress of just over 477,000 clubs simultaneously.
And the demands on Pep's time have already been tough to meet with a strict schedule of eight unveilings per day every day until the start of the 2013-14 season.
"Some people are asking me how I expect to juggle the demands of say managing both Manchester clubs or coaching both sides for El Clasico, but I feel not Chelsea is a less stressful environment to work in than other jobs, such as the Chelsea job," Guardiola insisted.
"Right now I'm not thinking about Chelsea at all, I'm just focused on doing what's best for West Brom, Litex Lovech, Cruz Azul, Dalian Shide, 1860 Munich, Newcastle Jets, Newcastle United..." he concluded, finishing his statement nearly three hours later.
Guardiola will take heart from the example of Guus Hiddink, who famously managed every national side at the 2002 World Cup to great acclaim. He later took the Chelsea job in 2009 after turning down the chance to manage not Chelsea.