Pep Guardiola has said he’s committed to Manchester City despite their two-year Champions League ban, while Raheem Sterling’s agent suggests he’s going nowhere.
Speculation is rife at the Etihad Stadium after European football’s governing body, UEFA, announced the club will be suspended from the Champions League until the 2022-23 season. The defending Premier League champions were also fined $32.5 million (€30 million) for overstating their sponsorship revenue between 2012 and 2016, the Guardian’s David Conn reported.
Guardiola’s future at the Etihad was already a hot topic of conversation after City fell so far off Liverpool’s pace in the Premier League title race. However, Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol said the Catalan coach told his players he's sticking around:
City released a statement slamming UEFA’s decision and confirmed their intent to appeal the decision through the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
It’s feared the club’s potential two-year absence from Europe’s premier competition could see players eye the exit. Sterling’s agent, Aidy Ward, told the Mirror’s John Cross the England star is concentrated on playing for the Citizens and suggested he’ll remain with the club who bought him from Liverpool in 2015 for £49 million: “Raheem is solely focused on Manchester City and will not be distracted by any talk of transfers to any club at the moment.”
Ward’s comment could be interpreted to mean Sterling might consider his options at a later date, though fans will take it as a positive sign for the time being that their star is focused at the Etihad.
Guardiola’s contract with City isn’t due to expire until 2021, though it will be a first for the coach to manage a team outside the Champions League should he remain.