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Priest puts perturbed minds at rest over Pep

Jean Hakolimana, a Rwandan who has run the local church in Santpedor where Guardiola was born since 2007, told Spanish radio he thought the 41-year-old was highly unlikely to leave as he had such strong links to the Catalan club.

"If anyone has doubts and that is their faith then they can pray for it but I think he will stay," Hakolimana said, adding that he last saw Guardiola three months ago and that the coach's parents attend his church regularly.

"You could not understand today's Barcelona without Guardiola and you could not understand Guardiola without Barca, they are so strongly connected and that's why I think he will extend his contract," he said.

Guardiola, who has led Barca to 13 trophies since he took over in 2008, prefers to renew his contract on an annual basis and said on Saturday he needed more time to decide whether to stay on beyond the end of this season.