Zubizarreta: Pep will not succeed Sir Alex

Barcelona’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta admits he admires Sir Alex Ferguson’s fondness of Pep Guardiola, but does not believe the Barca maestro will replace him at Manchester United.

Ferguson, 68, wants to continue plying his trade at Old Trafford as long as his health allows, but he has recently spoken of the club’s need to appoint a strong and experienced replacement when he does step down.

The Scot is expected to have a massive input in the selection of his successor, and reports have indicated that he more than admires the man that beat him in the Champions League final in 2009.

Guardiola, who was the youngest manager to ever win the Champions League, completed the treble in his first season as Barcelona boss in sensational fashion.

The 39-year-old did so by piping Real Madrid to the La Liga title, running Manchester United off the park in the Champion’s League showpiece in Rome and thrashing Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Copa Del Rey.

He was also the first manager to ever win the 'sextuple' in a year after adding the Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to his already glowing trophy collection.

The Special One, Jose Mourinho, has been widely tipped to become the next United manager, but reports in England and Spain suggest Ferguson believes Guardiola would be the ideal candidate.

Guardiola is known to be a perfect man manager at the Camp Nou, which is a trait Ferguson feels would work well both in and outside of the Old Trafford dressing room.

The Spaniard's ability to handle potential egotistical personalities of stars such as Lionel Messi, David Villa, Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic would bode well if he takes over the Red Devils' hot seat.

Guardiola has refused to commit to a long-term contract at Barcelona, yet Zubizarreta has reassured the club's supporters that the coach will stay loyal to the club that gave him a chance and that he will not be leaving the Camp Nou any time soon.

"If Ferguson is thinking that way, he has excellent taste, but everybody knows the ties Guardiola has with Barca, which go far beyond the contract he has," he told Ona FM.

"We are working on a long-term project."

By Tyler Stellman