Man City were damaged - Defiant Guardiola hits back at critics after CAS verdict

By Sports Desk July 14, 2020

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City are owed an apology after Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho criticised the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision to lift the club's two-season ban from UEFA competitions.

City were hit with the punishment in February, following an investigation sparked by the Football Leaks revelations of November 2018, with European football's governing body finding the then Premier League champions to have breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

On Monday, CAS announced City did not disguise equity funding as sponsorship contributions and stated the allegations brought by UEFA were either "not established" or "time-barred" under the organisation's own regulations.

City were fined €10million – down from €30m – for failing to co-operate with UEFA's investigation, a verdict that amounted to a resounding victory in light of what the club stood to lose, and it has not been warmly received by some of Guardiola's Premier League counterparts.

Liverpool boss Klopp described it as being not "a good day for football", while Spurs head coach Mourinho labelled decision to be a disgrace.

Guardiola expressed confidence in the stance of City's board throughout and remained similarly bullish when he addressed a news conference to preview Wednesday's match against relegation-threatened Bournemouth.

"I'm incredibly happy for the decision," he said. "It shows everything that people said about the club was not true. We will defend on the pitch what we won on the pitch.

"Jose and all the managers should know that we were damaged. We should be apologised to because if we did something wrong, we would accept the decision from UEFA because we did something wrong,

"We don't expect Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea or Wolves to defend us, but we have the right to defend ourselves when we believe what we have done is correct and three independent judges said this."

Continuing, Guardiola presented a counterpoint to Klopp's take.

"Today is a good day, yesterday was a good day for football because we play by the same rules as all the clubs in Europe.

"If we had broken Financial Fair Play, we would have been banned, but we had to defend ourselves because we were right.

"We were damaged. People said we were cheating and lying, and the presumption of innocence was not there. When we were proved right, we were incredibly happy because we can defend what we have done on the pitch."

City completed an unprecedented domestic treble last season under a cloud of suspicion created by FIFA, UEFA and Premier League investigations into their internal operations – the latter of which is yet to conclude.

Guardiola would like his team's on-field achievements to be judged on their own merits but does not expect the CAS verdict to serve as a remedy in this regard, claiming "whispering" Premier League rivals continue to sully the perception of his club.

"It would be nice, but I don't think so," he said. "What happened in recent years, how many times people came to our club, whispering about us.

"I would love it to finish and say to these people, if you want to say something, say it face to face.

"Go to the pitch and play on the pitch and after, if they beat us, don't doubt we will shake their hands and congratulate them. But they lost off the pitch. They have to go on the pitch and try to beat us, like the sportsmen that we are.

"Guys accept it, we want to be here and we tried on the pitch. If you do not agree, knock on the door and speak to our chairman and our CEO and talk.

"Don't go behind whispering, seven, eight, nine clubs doing this. Go and do it on the pitch. Let's go."

A fired-up Guardiola also had a response for LaLiga chief Javier Tebas, who questioned whether the widely respected CAS was an appropriate body to rule on such matters.

"He's another one, Senor Tebas must be so jealous of English football," he added, before applying some heavy sarcasm.

"He's an incredible legal expert from what I see. Maybe next time I'll ask them which court and judges we have to go to.

"He has to be worried and concerned about LaLiga and focus on there, but normally when the sentence is good for him it is perfect - it happens many times in Spain - but when it is against, the problem is for the other ones.

"We will be in the Champions League next season, Senor Tebas, because what we did, we did it properly."

Related items

  • Bayern 'cautiously optimistic' on Alaba extension, want 'fair fee' for Thiago Bayern 'cautiously optimistic' on Alaba extension, want 'fair fee' for Thiago

    Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is "cautiously optimistic" that David Alaba will sign a contract extension with the Bundesliga champions. 

    Versatile defender Alaba has less than a year remaining on his existing deal at the Allianz Arena but, according to reports, the club are unwilling to meet his demand for a €20million annual salary. 

    Hansi Flick has expressed his hope that the Austria international will finish his career at Bayern, who are gearing up for a Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona in Lisbon on Friday. 

    Alaba is expected to re-enter negotiations with the Bavarian giants once their European campaign is over and Rummenigge believes an agreement will be reached. 

    "With Alaba, I am cautiously optimistic we will find a solution," Rummenigge told the media on Tuesday.

    Bayern look set to lose Thiago Alcantara, however, with the midfielder having informed the club of his desire to leave. 

    Thiago has a contract until the end of the 2020-21 season but is available for "a fair fee" amid links to Premier League champions Liverpool. 

    Rummenigge said: "Thiago is known to have told us he would like to do something new. If a club approaches us that is willing to pay a fair fee, we will deal with it." 

    Having already signed Leroy Sane from Manchester City in a deal that could reach €60m, Rummenigge insisted there will be no further significant outlays. 

    Bayern opted against exercising their option to make Philippe Coutinho's loan from Barca permanent and any lingering hopes of remaining in Munich appear to have been dashed. 

    "Coutinho - as I said, the contract is running out and we cannot and will not make any further investments of this magnitude," said Rummenigge.

  • Areola returns to PSG from Madrid amid Premier League rumours Areola returns to PSG from Madrid amid Premier League rumours

    Alphonse Areola has returned to Paris Saint-Germain from Real Madrid amid reports he is set for a Premier League move.

    The goalkeeper joined Los Blancos on a season-long loan last September to provide cover for number one Thibaut Courtois, with Keylor Navas having moved in the opposite direction in a permanent deal.

    Areola made just nine appearances for LaLiga's champions, though, and the Frenchman has been tipped to move on again with game time unlikely at PSG.

    "Real Madrid confirmed they have brought Alphonse Areola's loan spell to an end," a team statement read.

    "The club would like to thank Areola for his dedication, professionalism and exemplary conduct this season and wishes him the best of luck in this new chapter.

    "Real Madrid also thanks PSG for the chance to have had Alphonse Areola as part of our squad."

    Reports in the English media said 27-year-old Areola has bought a house in London ahead of a potential move to the Premier League.

    Chelsea have been credited with an interest as the Blues appear keen to find a buyer for Kepa Arrizabalaga.

    Arsenal were also touted as a potential destination to provide extra cover after Emiliano Martinez deputised when Bernd Leno sustained a knee injury in June, although the Argentinian's brilliant performances mean such a scenario may be unlikely.

  • Immobile excited by David Silva's Lazio move, claims Newcastle interest Immobile excited by David Silva's Lazio move, claims Newcastle interest

    Ciro Immobile is ready to welcome David Silva to Lazio with open arms and revealed an approach from Newcastle United, who he claimed wanted to hire Massimiliano Allegri or Luciano Spalletti. 

    Manchester City great Silva is to depart the Premier League club after a 10-year association upon the completion of their Champions League campaign, which continues with a quarter-final tie against Lyon on Saturday. 

    Reports in Italy suggest the Spanish playmaker's move to Rome is practically done, with Lazio offering him a three-year contract to move to Serie A. 

    Lazio striker Immobile is excited at the prospect of linking up with the 2010 World Cup winner.  

    "He's a great player and has great experience, we are waiting for him with open arms," Immobile said in an extensive interview with Corriere dello Sport. 

    "I can't wait for him to arrive, we are Lazio fans before Lazio players." 

    Immobile is coming off a sublime individual campaign in which his 36 Serie A goals matched the competition record set by Gonzalo Higuain, who achieved the feat in the 2015-16 campaign. 

    The Italy striker says he is now ready to finish his career at Lazio amid the possibility of a contract extension at the club. 

    "I'm waiting for them to call me. I intend to tie myself to Lazio forever. What Lazio has given me and is giving me is priceless," Immobile added. 

    "The renewal will be three years, so the contract will expire in 2025, when I turn 35." 

    While Immobile has no plans to depart, he revealed there was interest in taking him to Newcastle amid a potential takeover at the Premier League club. 

    The Magpies were the subject of a proposed £300million purchase, led by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, but the bid was withdrawn due to what was described by the potential new owners as “an unforeseen prolonged process”. 

    Immobile also stated Newcastle wanted to bring in an Italian coach, with ex-Juve boss Allegri among consideration. 

    "During the period in which there was talk of the possible acquisition of Newcastle by a sheikh fund, they called my agent Alessandro Moggi," Immobile said.  

    "Then the Premier did not pass the proposal, the fund was withdrawn. I know they were also looking for an Italian coach, Allegri or Spalletti."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.