BARCELONA are increasingly confident Pep Guardiola will return to the Nou Camp this summer if Manchester City's Champions League ban is upheld.
Guardiola has one year left on his Etihad deal and has been in no rush to pen a new contract.
The Court of Arbitration in Sport is set to decide in the next fortnight whether to uphold City's appeal over a two-year Champions League ban for financial wrongdoing.
If that goes against City, the 49-year-old Spaniard could return to his Catalan roots, according to reports.
Guardiola led Barca to Champions League glory in a silverware-laden career both as player and manager.
He then moved to Bayern Muinch in 2013, where he won successive Bundesliga titles over three years.
Guardiola joined City in 2016.
His has won eight trophies in the last three seasons and is on for a second successive Treble this term, albeit with the Champions League instead of the Premier League.
But sources believe he will move on if City are thrown out of Europe.
Barca appointed ex-Real Betis boss Quique Setien earlier this year.
However, the chance to nab their old manager would be too strong to turn down, especially given all his past success.
Guardiola was manager at the Nou Camp for four seasons.
City chiefs will hold talks with Guardiola about a contract extension at the end of July.
Although if they crash out of this season's Champions League – and then face three years before they could have the chance to win it – Guardiola could well decide to call it a day.
Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva have already indicated they will quit if City's appeal is rejected.
With David Silva retiring and Leroy Sane moving to Bayern Munich, Guardiola would be faced with a huge rebuilding job if he stays.
City would also be left in a financial blackhole, costing them £200m.
But Etihad chiefs remain confident they will be allowed to compete in next season's Champions League.
However, Guardiola could well call it quits anyway as he has never stayed anywhere longer than four years as a manager.
In a subtle dig at City's refusal to splash out £85million on centre-half Harry Maguire last summer as a replacement for the retiring Vincent Kompany, Guardiola said: "You cannot win them all, it can happen to miss one. We lost Vincent Kompany and had Aymeric Laporte injured.
"Maybe after winning titles we didn’t get or arrive with the same passion."
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