world soccer 31.5.2018 12:33 pm

Guardiola dismisses Isco move, praises spectacular Real

Guardiola dismisses Isco move, praises spectacular Real

Pep Guardiola has ruled out Manchester City signing Real Madrid´s Isco this summer and described the European champions as a “spectacular team”.

by Thomas ALLNUTT

Guardiola, speaking at a Johan Cruyff Foundation event in Barcelona on Wednesday, also made another staunch defence of his decision to wear a yellow ribbon last season in support of imprisoned Catalan campaigners.

Isco extended his contract until 2022 in September but has not been an automatic pick for Real under Zinedine Zidane this season.

After scoring a hat-trick for Spain against Argentina in March, the 26-year-old said he no longer felt the confidence of the Frenchman and that playing for the national team “gives him life”.

Isco started the Champions League final against Liverpool, however, and enjoyed a strong end to the campaign in La Liga. Guardiola says Isco will not be at City next term.

“No, Manchester City are not going to sign Isco,” he said.

Guardiola won six La Liga titles with Barcelona as a player before leading the team to three more league successes and two Champions League triumphs as coach.

His City side were knocked out by Liverpool, however, in the quarter-finals in April as Real went on to clinch their third consecutive European crown, and fourth in five years.

“I congratulate Madrid,” Guardiola said. “When a team gets three Champions Leagues in a row, four in five years, it is a spectacular team.

“The Champions League is a very tough competition, very complicated, where going through or going out depends on many things.

“And if all these things are with you for three years in a row, it means you are in control of them.”

Guardiola´s status in Barcelona means his political views carry weight too, with the Spaniard regularly wearing a yellow ribbon last season in support of those imprisoned for backing Catalan independence.

He was charged in February by England´s Football Association, who ruled that the political message was in breach of kit regulations.

“I would have worn it (in Spain) as well, why can I wear it in England and not here?” Guardiola said.

“People stand up against AIDS, against gender discrimination. It is not a political claim, it is in support of people who are in jail for expressing a political option, which can happen to anyone. People who are in jail for asking that people can vote.

“The situation is not easy, but it will not be fixed until the prisoners are with their families.”

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