- Pep Guardiola has indicated that he will still be manager of Manchester City next season – even if the club fails in an appeal against their Champions League ban.
The City boss has indicated that he will honour the remaining 12 months of his contract after UEFA handed down a two-year European suspension for breaking FFP regulations.
City are taking their case the the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a bid to get the decision overturned.
UEFA want to fast-track the process so that the ban will come into place next season.
That has led to speculation that Guardiola will walk away from the Etihad.
But the Catalan’s first instinct after the decision was made public has been to show loyalty to the club after four seasons in the job.
That could mean Guardiola will not manage a team in Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in his career.
City believe they have a strong case to get the ban lifted.
And they will fight any attempt by UEFA to impose the sanction if the CAS are unable to convene before the start of next season.
City are aware that a ban would damage their chances of keeping their top players at the club.
But Guardiola’s show of defiance is a huge statement of intent.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss won the Champions League twice when he was at the Nou Camp.
He failed to get beyond the semi-finals at Bayern despite winning the Bundesliga in each of his three seasons.
He has lifted back-to-back Premier League titles at City and also claimed a unique domestic treble.
But he has not progressed beyond the Champions League quarter-finals and faces a last-16 showdown with Real Madrid, with the first leg at the Bernabeu on February 26.