Barca resigned to interest in Guardiola

MADRID - Barcelona are resigned to rival clubs' interest in luring away coach Pep Guardiola but want to persuade him to extend his contract, president Joan Laporta said on Monday.

The former Spain and Barca midfielder, who turns 39 on Monday, has yet to commit to a new deal that would keep him with the European champions beyond this season and his agent was quoted as saying in Monday's Sport newspaper he had offers from six clubs.

"We cannot avoid interest from other clubs because at the moment he is the best coach in the world," Laporta told reporters on Monday.

"I think he has much to achieve at Barca. Regarding the contract renewal, we want to get it done as soon as possible but we have to wait. We understand that he wants time to reflect."

Laporta said on Saturday that Guardiola, who led the club to an unprecedented six trophies in 2009, should decide by the beginning of April whether he planned to stay on.

Sporting director Txiki Begiristain should also agree a new deal.

"They know what is needed and we have absolute confidence in them," Laporta added.

Laporta is not allowed to stand for another term and is due to step down around the end of June, prompting speculation in Spanish media that Guardiola is waiting to see who the new president is before he commits to the club.