You may have heard that Pep Guardiola may not be back at Barcelona next season. You may have heard this because there was talk last summer that he wouldn't come back this season. You may have heard this because the speculation has been that he has already decided not to return for next season. You may have heard this because he has recently been linked to the opening at Chelsea. Basically, you may have heard this because you have ears and/or eyes.
What we know is that the Barcelona manager has not gone public with his decision yet, if he has made one, except to say he will not go to Chelsea. Retirement, or more accurately, a break from managing, is very much a possibility, though, and every word of every press conference is analyzed to gain insight into what Guardiola is thinking. Gabriel Roberts from Barca Blaugranes did just that, picking apart his press conference prior to the Chelsea Champions League tie and concluding that this tie could have a lot to do with his future. And what does he think Guardiola future plans are?
My feeling is that if Barcelona wins the Champions League, Pep will walk away—perhaps taking a much-needed break from football entirely. Winning Europe's top competition for the third time in four years (and becoming the first manager to do it twice in a row) would surely serve as a marvelous farewell to his beloved club. Combined with a ridiculous trophy haul from other competitions, Guardiola—on the strength of four remarkable years—would go down as arguably the greatest manager of all time.
So that's it. Win the Champions League and Pep walks. Lose it and Pep might return. Lose it because Real Madrid won it and Pep definitely, definitely, definitely comes back, right? So yeah, this tie against Chelsea matters. It's the second to final step in the determining factor in Pep's future with Barcelona, at least if you believe the same as Gabriel.
For more on the Blues, check out SB Nation Chelsea blog We Ain't Got No History. For their opposition, visit Barca Blaugranes. We'll have more pre-game updates, as well as live coverage of the match, in this story stream, so stay tuned!