x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Guardiola to extend Barca stay

Guardiola's contract expired on June 30, but the coach will put pen to paper on a new deal when he returns from a trip to South Africa.

Pep Guardiola, the Barcelona coach, is ready to sign a new deal to remain at the Nou Camp next season, the club's vice-president has revealed. Guardiola's contract expired on June 30, but the coach will put pen to paper on a new deal when he returns from a trip to South Africa, according to Josep Maria Bartomeu. "We have been talking to his agent for two days," the vice-president told reporters. "We have an agreement and it just needs to be formalised when Pep returns from Africa."

Guardiola prefers to sign shorter contracts, but the club are keen to offer their coach a long-term deal. "I hope he is here for many years, but right now we are ironing out the last details and until it is signed, we cannot say how long Guardiola will be in charge of the first team," Bartomeu said. Guardiola has won seven trophies in his two seasons at the Nou Camp after being promoted from the Barca B team.

Elsewhere, Maicon could be a step closer to leaving Inter Milan after his agent launched a scathing attack on the Nerazzurri, accusing them of lacking respect for the Brazil defender. The right-back has been linked with a move away from Inter since Jose Mourinho moved to Real Madrid and speculation is rife he is set to follow his former coach to the Bernabeu. Massimo Moratti, the Inter president, admitted Maicon might very well not be at the San Siro next season, prompting a furious outburst from the 28-year-old's agent, Antonio Caliendo. "Sometimes I ask myself if Inter even have directors. They aren't showing him any respect," said Caliendo.

"We know there are players on co-ownership deals, many problems to resolve, a coach has left, a new one has come in, different plans, etc. "However, it's amazing they don't even have five minutes for a player like Maicon." * Agencies