Guardiola agrees Barca extension

BARCELONA - Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has agreed to extend his contract with the European and Spanish champions by one year until the end of next season.

"We had a meeting last night and (he) told me he was committed to staying for at least one more season," president Joan Laporta said at a news conference with Guardiola and sporting director Txiki Begiristain.

Guardiola will not sign his new contract until after presidential elections have been held and he has thrashed out the details with the new incumbent, added Laporta who is not allowed to stand again after his term ends in June.

"Pep Guardiola has a guarantee from the club he will be coach next season and because he has agreed and given his word to do it, it's legally binding," he said.

"This puts everyone's minds at rest because the new president and board won't have to worry about who is coach next season and the only thing they have to be concerned with is persuading Pep to say on after that."

SIX TROPHIES

Guardiola, who turned 39 on Monday, led Barca to an unprecedented six trophies in 2009 (Champions League, La Liga, King's Cup, Club World Cup and Spanish and European Super Cups).

They are undefeated in La Liga this term and lead the standings by five points from arch rivals Real Madrid with just under half the season played.

Guardiola said he decided to announce his decision to stay to avoid incessant questioning and to put the minds of players and club officials at rest.

"I would have preferred waiting until the end of the season but I very well understand how things are here," he said.

"I will wait until the new president gets to know me and to find out what he thinks of me and then we will make a relaxed decision (as to whether I stay longer)."

After joining the club's youth ranks in 1984, Dutch coach Johan Cruyff gave Guardiola his first team debut in 1990 and he had a successful playing career with Barca and Spain before taking over from Frank Rijkaard as first team coach at the end of the 2007/08 season.

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