By Andy Hampson, PA
Pep Guardiola has claimed he would have quit Manchester City had their financial affairs not been in order.
The City manager defended the club when European governing body UEFA banned them from the Champions League for two years for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations in 2020.
Guardiola was convinced the club had done no wrong and that stance was later vindicated as City were cleared following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“Every single word I said in all my press conferences, even if people don’t believe me, every word I said is because I truly, truly, truly believe it,” said Guardiola.
“Why defend the club and the people? Because I work with them.
“And when there are suspicions or people accuse something, I ask, ‘Tell me about that’.
“If they say ‘it is like this or like that’, OK I believe them, because I said to them, ‘If you lie to me, the day after I will not be here, I will be out and you will not be my friend anymore’.”
City were previously punished for Financial Fair Play breaches in 2014 and the resurfacing of the issue led to lots of suspicion and wariness about the club’s affairs.
Guardiola felt this was unfair and he was not impressed when reports emerged that some rival Premier League clubs even attempted to prevent City having their ban suspended during the appeals process.
He said: “What CAS said means a lot to all of us because, at the end, it breaks all the suspicion.
“I cannot forget it was nine teams in the Premier League wanted to sack Manchester City for the league, for the European competitions. They pushed, these nine teams, and I know who they are.
“So when CAS go there in that moment and say…they did it properly.
“Of course (it could be said it) was a bit of a contradiction for me because maybe I still had belief in the guys who told me what they have done with a situation (in) 2012 or 13.
“I was in Barcelona at that time. Most of the people who were running that are not here now.
“Of course, I would not love it because at the end, what I like the most is to represent a club that does things properly.
“It’s not (just) about winning the Champions League or the Premier League. We want to do well for our people and our fans.”
Guardiola recognises City – five times Premier League champions in the past decade – are in the strong position they are now because of the huge financial input of owner Sheikh Mansour, who took over the club in 2008.
Their path to the top of the table is one Newcastle are now hoping to follow after their own takeover by a Saudi-led consortium earlier this season.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 6, 2022
Guardiola, whose side host the Magpies on Sunday, said: “I think the intention is like this.
“With Sheikh Mansour and these incredible facilities, and the CEO to get resources and the sponsors and everything, we are where we are.
“I didn’t speak with the owners of Newcastle but I think they’re going to try to do it. If they are going to do it or not, I don’t know. Nobody knows.”