Pep Guardiola

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Pep Guardiola’s mother dies due to coronavirus

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The mother of Pep Guardiola, Dolors Sala Carrio, has died after being infected by the coronavirus. 

Carrio, 82, passed away in the Catalan town of Manresa, 40 miles north of Barcelona, as Manchester City announced they have been left ‘devastated’ by the news as their manager has lost his mother amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The Manchester City family are devastated to report the death today of Pep’s mother Dolors Sala Carrio in Manresa, Barcelona after contracting Corona Virus. She was 82-years-old. Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends.” 

Two weeks ago Guardiola donated over $1 million to hospitals in his home state of Catalonia in the battle against COVID-19 and has been a leading figure in calling for people to stay at home to help save lives and stop its spread.

“We miss football. We miss the life that we had a few days ago but now is the time to listen, to follow our scientists, doctors and nurses,” Guardiola said. “You are my football family and we are going to do everything possible to make you feel better. We’ll come back from this stronger, better, kinder … and a little bit fatter. Stay inside, stay safe.”

Spain and Italy have been the two nations in Europe most-impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with both countries on lockdown for lengthy periods of time.

Guardiola: ‘We will come back stronger, kinder, and a bit fatter’

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Through all of the innumerable challenges and tragedies the world is currently facing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is doing his best to not only help the fight back in his native Spain, but also give everyone a chance to smile and laugh at their own expense.

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Guardiola, who last week donated $1.1 million to fight the virus in Catalonia, released a video message of encouragement and hope on Monday — encouraging everyone to stay inside, and hopeful of returning to a sense of normalcy in short order:

“We miss football. We miss the life that we had a few days ago but now is the time to listen, to follow our scientists, doctors and nurses.

“You are my football family and we are going to do everything possible to make you feel better. We’ll come back from this stronger, better, kinder … and a little bit fatter. Stay inside, stay safe.”

Pep Guardiola gives more than $1 million to coronavirus fight in Catalonia

Pep Guardiola
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has donated over $1 million to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Catalonia.

Guardiola, 49, is a sporting hero in Spain, where he won six La Liga titles and a European Cup as a player with Barcelona before leading the club to three more La Liga crowns and two UEFA Champions Leagues as manager.

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According to Sky Sports, Guardiola’s donation will help the Fundacio Angel Soler Daniel with the acquisition and supply of health equipment as well as the “alternative 3D production of respirator masks and other protective items for health workers.”

Guardiola was named the 2009 Catalan of the Year, and the region’s causes have always been very close to his heart. He was charged for wearing a yellow ribbon in tribute to the Catalan independence fight in 2018.

The BBC says Guardiola is spending time at his home in Barcelona during the Premier League suspension, which runs until at least April 30.

Tom Brady not at the Patriots? It will remind you of these soccer legends

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In light of Tom Brady heading to either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and LA Rams after ending his legendary 20-year with the New England Patriots, which soccer legends have ended their careers at similarly random teams?

This article was inspired by a similar piece NBC Sports’ lead baseball writer over at Hardball Talk, Craig Calcaterra, published on Tuesday and it is certainly fascinating to look back at some of the great players synonymous with one particular teams or nation who finished their days in very different surroundings.

Here’s a look at a few random endings to legendary careers and feel free to send your own in the comments section below.


Ian Wright

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Arsenal legend Ian Wright, who became their all-time leading goalscorer when at the club, moved on to Burnley, Celtic, Nottingham Forest and West Ham in the final years of his career and it just didn’t seem, right (pardon the pun). Wright playing in claret and blue was strange, even though he had played for Crystal Palace before moving to Arsenal, when you think of Wright you think of him scoring at the Clock End at Highbury and wildly celebrating as only he could. You don’t think of him scoring at Turf Moor for Burnley in the third-tier. Ever.


Pep Guardiola 

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Pep Guardiola is a legend as a player and manager at Barcelona (probably more so the latter) as the holding midfielder was a key cog in the Barca team which won their first-ever European Cup in 1992 at Wembley. After 13 years at Barcelona he then played for Brescia (twice) and Roma in Italy before beginning an extremely nomadic final few years. After stops at Al-Ahli in Qatar and finally Dorados Sinola followed a spell at Sampdoria, with Guardiola playing 10 times and scoring one goal for the Mexican club. The reason he played for Dorados and finished his career there was due to being at management school in Axocopan, Atlixco, Puebla. That’s right, a spell living, playing and learning in the city known to be home of the notorious Sinaloa cartel fronted by ‘El Chapo’ helped turn Guardiola into one of the best coaches the game has ever seen.


Gary Lineker

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Gary Lineker’s incredible goalscoring career saw him play for many clubs as he started at hometown team Leicester City then move on to Everton, Barcelona and Tottenham before ending his career at Nagoya Grampus Eight of the J-League. Because of course. Third in England’s all-time leading goalscorer list, Lineker spent the last two years of his career in Japan. The man who was the leading goalscorer at the 1986 World Cup has since become a very successful broadcaster with various outlets. Many people forget about him ending his playing days in Japan, though, and when you think of Lineker you think about him scoring goals for England and English clubs.


Xavi

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One of the greatest midfielders of all-time who made one of the best, if not the best, teams of all-time tick, Xavi Hernandez will always be a Barcelona legend after making 767 appearances for them in all competitions. After a stunning 24-year career at the Nou Camp which saw him come through the academy ranks to captain the side as he won eight league titles, three Spanish cups, four Champions League titles and two Club World Cups (to go alongside his two European Championships and a World Cup for Spain) Xavi left Barca to play for Al Sadd in Qatar. He is now Al Sadd’s manager but his decision to see out his playing days with three years in the Qatari Stars League was seen as extremely bizarre, at the time.


Wayne Rooney

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Wayne Rooney is currently playing for Derby County in England’s second-tier and that isn’t how we expected him to come to the end of his career. Rooney, 34, has been mildly successful in spells back at Everton and then at D.C. United after leaving Man United in the summer of 2017 but playing in the Championship for Derby is a strange ending for the all-time leading goalscorer of both England and Man United. His move to Derby sees him taking on coaching responsibilities with the youth teams too, so there’s a pathway into management, just like Xavi.

Guardiola, Nuno not keen on empty stadiums

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Premier League managers Pep Guardiola and Nuno Espirito Santo do not want games to be played in empty stadiums but understand the escalating situation with coronavirus across Europe.

Speaking on Tuesday the managers of Man City and Wolves both shared the same view that games should not take place behind-closed-doors in the coming weeks.

With several Champions League and Europa League games set to be played in empty stadiums over the next week, Wolves’ trip to Olympiacos in the UEFA Europa League is due to be played in an empty stadium in Greece on Thursday.

Reports state the Premier League club have asked for the game to be postponed as Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis confirmed he has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Asked by our partners Sky Sports if Wolves want to play the game in Greece, Santo confirmed they do not want to travel to Olympiacos but will if they have to.

“We have obligations. Me as a manager, I am an employee of the club and the club has UEFA and FIFA. If we have to go there we will go but we will not go accordingly. We don’t agree. We don’t agree,” Santo said.

Asked if he wants to take his Wolves team to play at Olympiacos, this was his response.

“No, no. Because things are developing, news is happening. Even Olympiacos, they are suffering their own problems, the president and all these things. I think it is time to really think, is there another option?” Santo said. “Because we are only contemplating, are we playing normally? That is not the case. Now we play behind-closed-doors. Is there another option? Can we stop? No tie has been played in the Europa League yet. It is something that is developing. Eventually it will happen in the Premier League. Until now we have not played behind-closed-doors. All of the other countries are suffering this situation, what is to say the UK will not have the same problem? Let’s think about it.”

Man United’s Europa League game at LASK in Austria will be played behind-closed-doors, while Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League game at Bayern Munich next week also seems likely to be played in an empty Allianz Arena as Bavaria, Germany has taken similar measures to Austria in banning large events.

Games in Serie A are postponed, matches in Spain’s La Liga will be played in empty stadiums until early April and that will also happen in France for Ligue 1 games, while plenty of other leagues across Europe are also impacted.

What does Pep Guardiola think about the current situation? He believes that Premier League games will be played in empty stadiums in the coming weeks.

“It’s happened already in Italy and in Spain – and I think it’s going to happen here. We have to ask is it worth playing football without the spectators? We do our job for the people. If the people cannot come to watch the games, there is no sense. We are going to follow the instructions from the governments, everybody all around the world is involved in that – and we’ll just follow what we have to do.”

Santo said he and Wolves will follow the directions from the government but he had similar sentiments to Guardiola.

“I understand the decision of playing behind-closed-doors but what is the point if we go back to what is the point of football? It is to entertain, playing behind-closed-doors doesn’t make sense,” Santo said. “This has nothing to do with football. It is a social situation. Everybody is worried. I think something has to be done. I think closing doors in stadiums is not the solution because it is not normal. We are pretending to live a normal life when things are not normal. The point I am trying to make is that, is there another solution for this?”

Santo’s solution was to stop the games now and then try to make them up once the situation improves.

With big tournaments coming up this summer, like EURO 2020, could they be moved to 2021 and the domestic leagues across Europe extended into June?

That is one option and considering that EURO 2020 will be spread across 12 countries in Europe this summer it could make sense if UEFA decides to go down that route.