Pep Guardiola will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, bringing to an end a trophy-laden four-year spell in charge of the Catalan club.
Guardiola informed his players of his decision on Friday morning, before heading to a press conference to address the media. The former Barcelona captain and Spain international has told the club he needs a break from football.
The news brings the curtain down on the reign of the most successful coach in Barcelona's history. Guardiola won three successive La Liga titles at Camp Nou, lifting the Champions League trophy in 2009 and 2011, as well as subsequently winning the FIFA Club World Cup on two occasions.
Guardiola has been on a rolling contract at the Camp Nou since taking over from Frank Rijkaard in 2008, and, with the 2011-12 season drawing to a close, the strain of constant media criticism and expectation at the club has taken its toll.
Fusing the world class talents of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Guardiola is widely regarded to have formed the greatest club side in the history of European football.
However, defeats to Real Madrid, which effectively ended Barcelona's league title ambitions, and to Chelsea in the Champions League, have led Guardiola to the acknowledgement that he needs to recharge. A year-long break from football is now expected.
The news will spark strong media speculation over a potential move to Chelsea, regardless of Guardiola's wish for a break. Blues owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly ready to pay whatever it takes to bring the Spaniard to Stamford Bridge, but it is likely to take more than just money to tempt Guardiola into another job.