Puyol: Guardiola exit a 'heavy blow'

by Cian O'Callaghan , 29 April 2012 football news

Carles Puyol says Pep Guardiola's decision to leave Barcelona in the summer has come as a 'heavy blow' to the Blaugrana.

The 41-year-old announced that he would be stepping down from his role as manager at the end of the season on Friday, following his side's Champions League exit to Chelsea earlier in the week.

After taking over from Frank Rijkaard in 2008, Guardiola has presided over one of the most successful periods in the club's history, leading them to an astonishing 13 trophies in three seasons.

However, this year has been less successful as Barca have been overtaken in the league by Real Madrid and following their elimination from the Champions League, now only have the Copa del Rey to play for.

Guardiola has now announced he will leave the Nou Camp, citing the exhausting nature of the job and his skipper Puyol admits that the players have been hit hard by the decision.

"It is a heavy blow that Guardiola leaves," hesaid. "Inside the dressing room, we all wanted him to stay.

"We will forever be thankful to him. He has left a lot of things in football.

"He marked an era and that is very important."

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