Oleksandr Zinchenko has penned a three-year contract extension with Manchester City that runs until the end of the 2023-24 season, the Premier League champions have confirmed.

Ukraine international Zinchenko has been converted from an attacking midfielder to a left-back by Pep Guardiola and was increasingly relied upon by the City boss during the second half of last season.

A standout performance in the EFL Cup final against Chelsea, as City collected the first part of an unprecedented domestic treble, helped to establish the 22-year-old as a reliable option on the left-hand side of defence as Benjamin Mendy continued to struggle with knee problems.

Zinchenko played 29 times in all competitions in 2018-19, despite having initially been viewed as surplus to requirements and heavily linked with a switch to Wolves at the start of the campaign.

"It's difficult to express how happy I am to sign this deal," Zinchenko said. "This club offers players everything they need to improve and develop, so being here for five more years is an honour.

"This season shows we are built for success. It's been amazing to be involved in such a historic campaign and it's one I'll never forget.

"But I am now completely focused on the coming years and I know more good times are around the corner."

Zinchenko follows Kyle Walker in committing his long-term future to City after the England right-back also signed terms through until June 2024 on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian moved to the Etihad Stadium from Ufa in 2016 after representing his country at that year's European Championship.

A subsequently frustrating loan spell at PSV, where Zinchenko was restricted to 12 Eredivisie appearances, did little to indicate how tenaciously he would fight to establish himself in Guardiola's plans.

"Zinchenko has shown over the past two seasons what a superb talent he is," City's director of football Txiki Begiristain said.

"Not only does he have a wonderful first touch and left foot, he is a player completely focused on becoming the best footballer he can be.

"His improvement since joining us tells you everything you need to know about his attitude and ability.

"Young, hungry and already an established international, he fits perfectly into our long-term strategy. We are delighted he wants to stay here."

Alongside Mendy, Zinchenko could face competition at left-back next year from Angelino after it was reported City are considering triggering the buy-back clause on their former youth-team player, who is enjoying a more successful stint at PSV.

Guardiola's side face Liverpool in the Community Shield on August 4 before opening their Premier League defence six days later at West Ham.

Kyle Walker's fresh contract running until 2024 continues a trend at Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

The Catalan led his club to back-to-back Premier League titles last season, before completing a clean sweep of domestic honours and he is keen to keep a core of proven winners together.

An ongoing FIFA investigation into City that could result in a transfer ban means this approach could be prudent, although it is a policy that predates football's authorities taking an active interest in the club's affairs.

A £50million signing from Tottenham in 2017, England defender Walker is in it for the long haul at the Etihad Stadium – and he is far from the only one.

Kyle Walker (age 29, contracted until 2024)

Significantly older than the other players on this list, underlining the esteem in which Guardiola holds the full-back. Walker overcame a mid-season form slump with flying colours in 2019 and brought up 100 City appearances as Watford were swatted aside in the FA Cup final. Danilo is reportedly seeking pastures new due to Walker locking down the right-back slot, with Juventus' Joao Cancelo a rumoured target to bring fresh competition.

Bernardo Silva (age 24, contracted until 2025)

A £43.5million signing from Monaco in May 2017, Silva truly came to the fore last season. The Portugal playmaker's superb form and versatility meant Kevin De Bruyne's injury woes did not hinder City to any major extent. Like Walker, his initial deal ran until 2022. A Guardiola favourite.

Ederson (age 25, contracted until 2025)

A sharp, fearless shot-stopper, Ederson's composure and skill on the ball felt like the final piece in the jigsaw for Guardiola, enabling City to fully take on their manager's style. Despite agreeing a six-year contract after joining from Benfica for £35m in June 2017, he confirmed an additional two years at the conclusion of the 2017-18 campaign.

Aymeric Laporte (age 25, contracted until 2025)

The French centre-back has become Guardiola's 'Mr Dependable' at the heart of defence, mixing an elegant assurance on the ball with an imposing physical side to his game. A £57m recruit after City triggered Athletic Bilbao's release clause last January, Laporte bolted two more years on to his Manchester stay this February.

Raheem Sterling (age 24, contracted until 2023)

Arguably the greatest success story of Guardiola's City tenure, Sterling is now an indispensable attacking asset for club and country. The former Barcelona boss had long been keen on his star winger signing fresh terms before he settled upon a three-year extension in November 2018.

Kevin De Bruyne (age 27, contracted until 2023)

Forced to be a peripheral figure for much of the treble assault, De Bruyne was named City's Player of the Season in 2017-18. The Belgium midfielder's stellar form towards the back end of 2017 apparently had Europe's super clubs licking their lips, meaning his renewed commitment in January 2018 was a source of joy and relief for supporters.

Gabriel Jesus (age 22, contracted until 2023)

Brazil forward Jesus has perhaps not kicked on as expected from his emphatic introduction to life in Manchester in 2017, when he threatened to unseat Sergio Aguero as City's premier striker. Aguero's status is once again undisputed, but a new contract signed last November showed Jesus remains an important part of City's future.

Phil Foden (age 19, contracted until 2024)

The jewel of City's much-vaunted academy system, Foden finished last season with seven goals in all competitions - including a vital headed winner on his second Premier League start against Tottenham in April. A mesmeric solo goal for England Under-21s against France on Tuesday underlined Foden's enticing potential.

Pep Guardiola's style of play will suit Rodri if he completes a transfer from Atletico Madrid to Manchester City, according to former Real Madrid and Barcelona midfielder Luis Milla.

Spain international Rodri is expected to complete a £62.5million transfer to the Etihad Stadium, bringing the former Villarreal midfielder's time at Atletico to an end after just one season.

Milla, who won La Liga twice with Madrid and once with Barcelona during an illustrious playing career, said the 22-year-old would be a natural fit at City should the club opt to make him their record signing.

"Rodri could fit perfectly at Manchester City, because his coach has an Ajax and Barcelona style and looks for the same idea of play," Milla told Omnisport.

"City has a coach that was influenced at Barcelona. Rodri has the ability and virtues to play that way."

Guardiola is thought to see Rodri as a potential successor to 34-year-old midfielder Fernandinho in the City engine room, offering a similarly disciplined approach to the game.

West Ham's Declan Rice and Lyon's Tanguy Ndombele have also been linked with City, but Milla sees Rodri as an ideal signing for the Premier League champions.

"We are talking about a player with the ability to read football quickly," said Milla.

"He also understands what he has to do in each moment, he is intelligent, tactically he never loses his position, and he knows how to play a positional game."

Newly appointed Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri is on the same level as Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, according to Arrigo Sacchi.

Sarri was confirmed as Juve boss on Sunday, leaving Chelsea after just one season in the Premier League.

Reports suggested Guardiola was also a target for the Serie A champions, who sacked Massimiliano Allegri last month.

Sacchi – who won two European Cups and a Serie A title at the helm of AC Milan in the 1980s and '90s – feels Sarri is one of the best tacticians in the world.

"Sarri is of the same level as [Jurgen] Klopp, Guardiola, [Mauricio] Pochettino," he said on Monday.

"They have the same vision of work."

Guardiola has won two Premier League titles in three seasons at the helm of City, but his last Champions League success came with Barcelona in 2011.

Sacchi played down suggestions Juve ever had a chance of bringing Guardiola to Turin.

"He sent me a message. I heard that with Guardiola to Juve there was never anything," he said.

"He is very happy where he is. This season he will try to win the Champions League."

Manchester City and Liverpool look set to go head-to-head for the 2019-20 Premier League title once again after last season's titanic tussle.

City edged out Liverpool to defend their crown after winning 14 Premier League games in a row in a stunning run of form from February.

Liverpool only lost once in the league all season - away to City in early January - but finished a point behind Pep Guardiola's side.

Winning the Champions League by beating Tottenham in the final ensured the Reds had something to show for their efforts, though.

City and Liverpool will be expected to do battle for the league again, with Chelsea sitting a whopping 25 points back in third last season.

So where will the 2019-20 Premier League title be won and lost? After the release of the full fixture list, Omnisport takes a look.

OPENING FIXTURES

Liverpool have a chance to strike the first blow as they kick off the 2019-20 season at home to newly promoted Norwich City.

Guardiola's men open their campaign the following day at West Ham before hosting Tottenham in their first home game.

The Reds play Arsenal at home and Chelsea away in their first six fixtures, meaning Jurgen Klopp's side must be in top form from the off.

City's opening six games include a repeat of the FA Cup final against Watford, who they thrashed 6-0 at Wembley, as well as games against Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove Albion.

CRUNCH CLASHES

City and Liverpool are not scheduled to meet until November, which will give both teams a chance to find their Premier League rhythm.

Like last season, Liverpool are at home in the first of their two meetings with the defending champions, hosting City on November 9.

City drew 0-0 at Anfield last term - Riyad Mahrez fluffing a late penalty - and their 2-1 defeat of the Reds after the turn of the year proved a key result.

This time around Liverpool will not go to City until early April, kicking off a race to the finish line. That game already looks like a potential title decider.

DERBY DAYS

City's run of 14 consecutive wins last season gave Liverpool no room for slip-ups and although the Reds responded with nine successive victories of their own, dropped points earlier on proved costly.

Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by rivals Everton on March 3 and the Merseyside derby could again be a key moment in the title race, with Goodison Park hosting the game on March 14 next year. They play at Anfield in early December.

The Reds also crucially failed to win at Old Trafford, again playing out a 0-0 draw against Manchester United, and clashes between those two rivals will rightly be highlighted once more.

Liverpool host United - set for a rebuild under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - on January 18 having made the trip to Old Trafford in October this year.

City won the Manchester derby both home and away last term with this season's game against United at the Etihad Stadium set for December 7 while the return is slated for early March.

FESTIVE FIXTURES

Christmas is when City's challenge threatened to come unstuck last season as Guardiola's men suffered shock defeats in consecutive matches, at home to Crystal Palace and away to Leicester City, following a loss to Chelsea earlier in November.

This term sees City away to Wolves on Boxing Day, with Nuno Espirito Santo's side having thrived in games against the 'Big Six' last term, before hosting newly promoted Sheffield United and Everton in their other Christmas clashes.

Liverpool won nine games in a row before losing to City on January 3 last year, so Klopp will be seeking a similar return from their festive schedule this time out.

The Reds go to Leicester City on Boxing Day before a home double-header against Wolves and Sheffield United ahead of the FA Cup third round in early January.


THE RUN-IN

City's toughest runs of games appear to be in November and March, while Liverpool face two of their top-six rivals in their last three games of the Premier League season.

Their May fixtures start with a trip to Arsenal before Chelsea come to Anfield, with Klopp's side wrapping up their campaign with a visit to Newcastle United.

City are at home on the final day, with Norwich City heading to the Etihad Stadium, and prior to that game they face Southampton, Newcastle United, Brighton, Bournemouth and Watford in a seemingly kind sequence.

Champions League commitments could complicate matters further for both City and Liverpool in 2019-20, but the title race might well go to the wire for the second season in a row.

Manchester City's bid for a third consecutive Premier League title starts away to West Ham on August 10.

City's first home game sees Tottenham visit the Etihad Stadium the following weekend, while they do not face expected title rivals Liverpool until November with the return date, which City host, set for early April.

A testing run of games from late February - clashing with the Champions League knockout rounds - sees City face Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool within five league fixtures.

But City, who won their last 14 games to see off Liverpool's challenge last term, appear to have a more straightforward run-in than the Reds on paper with Pep Guardiola's men ending the campaign at home to newly-promoted Norwich City.


Manchester City's 2019-20 Premier League fixtures in full (all times local):

August 10: West Ham United v Manchester City (12:30)
August 17: Manchester City v Tottenham (15:00)
August 24: Bournemouth v Manchester City (15:00)
August 31: Manchester City v Brighton and Hove Albion (15:00)
September 14: Norwich City v Manchester City (15:00)
September 21: Manchester City v Watford (15:00)
September 28: Everton v Manchester City (15:00)
October 5: Manchester City v Wolves (15:00)
October 19: Crystal Palace v Manchester City (15:00)
October 26: Manchester City v Aston Villa (15:00)
November 2: Manchester City v Southampton (15:00)
November 9: Liverpool v Manchester City (15:00)
November 23: Manchester City v Chelsea (15:00)
November 30: Newcastle United v Manchester City (15:00)
December 3: Burnley v Manchester City (19:45)
December 7: Manchester City v Manchester United (15:00)
December 14: Arsenal v Manchester City (15:00)
December 21: Manchester City v Leicester City (15:00)
December 26: Wolves v Manchester City (15:00)
December 28: Manchester City v Sheffield United (15:00)
January 1: Manchester City v Everton (15:00)
January 11: Aston Villa v Manchester City (15:00)
January 18: Manchester City v Crystal Palace (15:00)
January 21: Sheffield United v Manchester City (19:45)
February 1: Tottenham v Manchester City (15:00)
February 8: Manchester City v West Ham United (15:00)
February 22: Leicester City v Manchester City (15:00)
February 29: Manchester City v Arsenal (15:00)
March 7: Manchester United v Manchester City (15:00)
March 14: Manchester City v Burnley (15:00)
March 21: Chelsea v Manchester City (15:00)
April 4: Manchester City v Liverpool (15:00)
April 11: Southampton v Manchester City (15:00)
April 18: Manchester City v Newcastle United (15:00)
April 25: Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester City (15:00)
May 2: Manchester City v Bournemouth (15:00)
May 9: Watford v Manchester City (15:00)
May 17: Manchester City v Norwich City (15:00)

Rio Ferdinand believes Frank Lampard can be Chelsea's answer to Pep Guardiola as Maurizio Sarri reportedly nears a move to Juventus.

Chelsea head coach Sarri is poised to sign a three-year deal to replace Massimiliano Allegri at Serie A champions Juve, according to reports.

Former Chelsea midfielder Lampard has emerged as one of the favourites to take over if Sarri leaves after almost guiding Derby County to the Premier League via the Championship play-off in his first season at the helm.

Ex-Manchester United defender Ferdinand – who played alongside Lampard with England – likened the 40-year-old to Manchester City manager Guardiola prior to the Spaniard being appointed Barcelona boss in 2008.

"He is the perfect choice," Ferdinand said. "People talk about experience and what-not but what experience did Pep [Guardiola] have when he went into Barcelona's first team? He trained the younger kids at the club.

"Frank knows the club and he knows the players and the players will respect him. You can see he can carry himself in a particular way in front of the media and in the football club and he can change things within a season.

"If Chelsea are going to get a ban transfer-wise I don't think they can look anywhere but Frank if I'm honest. Because he and Jody [Morris, Derby assistant manager] they know all the kids from 16 upwards. They know what they can all do.

"Chelsea have had the best young kids in the country for a while now - Man City are coming around that but for the good years they have had the best kids and none of them get in the first team.

"As a football club, you would think they would like to change that. If they want to change that there is no one but Frank."

Lampard won three Premier League titles, the Champions League and four FA Cup trophies among other silverware during his time at Chelsea.

He is also Chelsea's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals across all competitions, including 147 in the Premier League, after joining from West Ham in 2001.

Pep Guardiola has described Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain as the "most important person" in his career and says he will never be able to truly repay his compatriot.

Begiristain helped to bring Guardiola to the Etihad Stadium in 2016, having overseen his appointment at Barcelona in 2008.

The 48-year-old has enjoyed incredible success during his three years in charge of City, winning the Premier League and EFL Cup twice and the FA Cup once.

And Guardiola puts a lot of that down to Begiristain and the faith his fellow Spaniard has shown in him.

"I think Txiki is the most important person in my career as a manager," he said in an extensive interview on City's official website.

"Now maybe it's easy to trust me, but before I was anyone in my managerial career he trusted me. Without that I would not be here, so I will always be in debt to him. 

"Grateful - because more than an incredible sporting director he is so shy and so humble, he never appears in the media. Always I say: talk sometimes! Give me a hand to talk and express your feelings about the way we want to play. 

"But he says no, that does not belong to me. He's an incredible person. An incredible human being and nothing that has happened in my career would have been without him. And of course when we talk about football we have the same ideas and that's why it is easy."

Pep Guardiola has confirmed he will not leave Manchester City for Juventus, stating: "I am a blue shirt, I am one of yours." 

Guardiola has been strongly linked with the Serie A champions following the departure of Massimiliano Allegri.

Juve denied making an approach for Guardiola, who led City to a domestic clean sweep in 2018-19, yet reports in Italy continued to suggest the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss was a target.

Guardiola, though, has ended the speculation by insisting he sees his future in the Premier League due to the strong backing he receives from City's fans.

"There is no better place to play in the world than in England. Or to do your job as a manager here in England," Guardiola said in an extensive interview on City's official website.

"I can compare it with Spain and in Germany, I have not been in other countries, but they would be quite similar. If I went to Italy it would be quite similar to Spain.

"There is no better place. In other places, fans boo you if you don't win or don't play good, but here they always support you.

"I am a blue shirt, I am one of yours."

City failed to win a trophy in Guardiola's first season in Manchester and the former Spain international - who has two years left on his contract - confirmed the faith shown in him during that spell is key to his decision to stay.

"I remember the first year was difficult, after Monaco we were out of the Champions League and the Premier League was not good, and we were understanding that the people support you," Guardiola continued. 

"Respect during the week, there's no media during the week, you work, calm, it is the ideal. It's the perfect place to work, especially, I don't know at other clubs, but here. I felt that in the first season when we didn't win one title, how they support me, but in this situation I don't forget it.

"Now it's easy to be close to me, for people to say how good you are, and I know how it was with this job. In that moment when it doesn't work so well like we expected in the first year, everybody needs time - all of us, we all need time - how they support me.

"The chairman first of all, Khaldoon [Al Mubarak], I cannot forget his messages after the defeats and the bad moments. And of course I cannot forget [sporting director] Txiki [Begiristain], all the backroom staff and how close we are.

"To sit with calm and to discuss what we need to improve, especially the team, and that's why I am happy to reward the confidence they have to me, with my players, for the next two seasons."

Guardiola added: "The best is yet to come!"

Pep Guardiola could join Juventus as former defender Andrea Barzagli insisted a "decision has not been made yet" amid growing links to Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.

Sarri is reportedly the favourite to succeed Massimiliano Allegri at Serie A champions Juve, who have also continued to be linked to Manchester City manager Guardiola.

Speculation regarding Guardiola has refused to subside after guiding City to back-to-back Premier League titles and retired defender Barzagli talked up a move for the Spaniard, pointing to Juve's shock signing of Cristiano Ronaldo last season.

"People seem to take Sarri for granted, but a decision hasn't been made yet and there are still a lot of names being mentioned," Barzagli said via La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The Bianconeri directors have barely put a foot wrong over the last few years and in my view, they've chosen the right man: if it's someone with a new idea or much the same, that I don't know.

"I don't know what the situation is at Juve, but I hear talk of Guardiola and it's nice to dream. After all, nobody believed it last year when Cristiano Ronaldo arrived, but dreams can come true. We'll see when the club makes its announcement.

"Allegri worked under stress for five years and was criticised too much, but he did well and continued the winning streak started by Antonio Conte."

Leroy Sane must decide he wants to join Bayern Munich before a bid can be submitted to Manchester City, according to the Bundesliga club's chairman.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says the German champions are ready to negotiate with their Premier League counterparts as soon as winger Sane makes up his mind on where to play next season.

The 23-year-old's future at the Etihad Stadium hangs in the balance, with stalled contract discussions disrupting Pep Guardiola's attempts to keep him.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness last week claimed a deal is unlikely because of the "insane" sums City are demanding, but Rummenigge insists the power rests with the player.

"We have not made an offer for Leroy Sane. It's not that far along yet," Rummenigge told Sport Bild.

"First the player has to decide whether he can imagine coming to Bayern.

"If that's the case, then we will negotiate with Manchester City.

"The player is the most important factor. Apparently, Leroy has not yet decided. [Sporting director] Hasan Salihamidzic is leading the talks for us.

"I think he is an exciting player."

Sane joined City from Schalke in 2016 and has two seasons left to run on his contract.

The attacker has scored 10 goals in each of the past two Premier League campaigns, helping the club and former Bayern boss Guardiola to consecutive titles.

Former Juventus defender Lilian Thuram believes it is hard to see Pep Guardiola leaving Manchester City amid reports linking the manager to the Serie A champions.

Guardiola has been linked with a shock move to Turin after winning two Premier League titles in three seasons with City.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri is also a reported target for Juve, who opted to sack Massimiliano Allegri last month.

Thuram, who won two Serie A titles in five seasons at Juve, feels it is unlikely Guardiola would leave City.

"Guardiola is a great manager, but I think he's not going to leave Manchester City honestly," he said on Monday.

"Juventus always had great managers and I think football is wonderful because you can play it in a lot of ways.

"You can win playing with the style of Guardiola or with the style of [Liverpool manager Jurgen] Klopp. They have different styles.

"Juve won a lot of titles in Serie A in a row thanks to a really good manager. And I'm sure the next manager of Juventus will be another great one. The club know what to do as always."

Juve have won eight consecutive Serie A titles, but have continued to fall short in their bid for a first Champions League crown since 1996.

Former Napoli boss Sarri is also linked with the vacant post and Thuram praised the 60-year-old Italian.

"I don't know Sarri as manager really well, but I know that his teams play great football," he said.

"His Napoli played really well and he won with Chelsea, but I read somewhere that he doesn't want to leave Chelsea."

When Ben Chilwell lines up alongside England's World Cup heroes at the Nations League Finals in Portugal this week it will be his rewards for 12 months of impressive progress where putting in extra toil paid off.

Chilwell counted himself among a nation of enraptured supporters last year, when Gareth Southgate guided the Three Lions to their first major tournament semi-final for 28 years at Russia 2018.

The 22-year-old Leicester City left-back was also reflecting upon a 2017-18 campaign where "I had good games but I had some bad games as well" and endeavoured to do something about it – enlisting the help of his father Wayne in a no-frills close-season training regime.

"It was just me and one of my mates, and my dad came down with a stopwatch and basically just timed us running up and down the pitch," Chilwell explained, having marked a rare British summer heatwave by throwing himself into sprinting drills.

"Thankfully I was fitter than him, which you'd hope."

If it makes Chilwell's mates from his home in Milton Keynes feel any better, Opta data shows the defender completed 749 sprints in Premier League matches last season, amounting to a stunning 20.8 per 90 minutes.

Of players to have completed 1,000 competitive minutes in England's top flight this season, only international colleagues Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling have better per-game numbers. Chilwell's overall sprints are comfortably the best in that top 10, with Liverpool's Andy Robertson (676) and Sterling (666) the next most prolific.

There is considerable guile and style alongside this fast-twitch brawn in Chilwell's game and his performances are reported to have caught the attention of Atletico Madrid, who are seeking a replacement for the Bayern Munich-bound Lucas Hernandez.

Premier League champions Manchester City are understood to no longer be in the market for a left-back although, were that situation to change, Pep Guardiola showed who he might think is up to the task by making a beeline for Chilwell after his team beat Leicester 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium last month.

"He just said he thought I was a really talented player and he wanted me to keep playing well, getting up and down the pitch and never going away from it," he recalled of Guardiola's full-time observations.

"That was it and then he walks off to the next person he wants to speak to. But it was nice for such a successful manager to say I'm a good player."

Chilwell started three of England's four Nations League group matches after making his competitive debut in the second match of the competition, a 0-0 draw in Croatia last October that came four days on from his call-up as an injury replacement for Manchester United's Luke Shaw.

He acknowledges the plethora of Under-21 graduates who played under Southgate in his previous England role has eased the acclimatisation process at full international level, but Chilwell is keen to underline this is a team for the present as well as the future as they prepare to face the Netherlands in Guimaraes on Thursday.

"This is a young squad and we want to win stuff now," he said. "We don't want to learn over the next few years and start winning in a few years.

"We want to win this summer and then continue to win for the rest of our careers."

If England lift the trophy at Porto's Estadio do Dragao on Sunday, Chilwell believes his dad will let him put his feet up in satisfaction. For a short while, at least.

"I'll have a few weeks off to relax as it's important to get away from football," he added. "Straight after that I'll be back in the park with him doing my sprints."

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are starting from scratch next season and warned his side will have more than just an "amazing rivalry" with Liverpool to contend with.

City completed a Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup treble in the 2018-19 campaign, edging out the Reds by a solitary point in the top flight.

Liverpool also finished the season with silverware as they defeated Tottenham 2-0 in Saturday's Champions League final in Madrid.

The two are expected to be the main protagonists in the title race again next term, but Guardiola – speaking to reporters at the basketball match between Manresa and Real Madrid – insists City will have plenty of company in the battle for supremacy.

"We have an amazing rivalry, but not only with them [Liverpool], there are five other strong teams and that's why the Premier League is so tough," he said.

"Next season we will start from scratch and we'll see what happens."

The former Barcelona boss also answered questions on current Blaugrana coach Ernesto Valverde, whose future at Camp Nou came under scrutiny after a humiliating Champions League semi-final loss to Liverpool and defeat in the Copa del Rey final to Valencia.

Barca did retain their title in LaLiga, though, and Guardiola offered his backing to Valverde.

"Away from the great friendship that we have, Ernesto is spectacular," he added.

"He's done a very good job. Sure he lost the Champions League, we all did.

"[He's in charge of] a team that has won two league [titles] in a row and plays good football, I'm happy that he's staying.

"Barcelona continue being loyal to his style." 

It has been 10 years since Barcelona seemingly changed European football forever with a stunning 2-0 Champions League final win over holders Manchester United.

Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring early on and Lionel Messi's 70th-minute header clinched a second Blaugrana triumph in four seasons.

This side were very different to the 2005-06 vintage, though, with new coach Pep Guardiola dictating an incredible passing style that quickly became the envy of their rivals.

"They get you on that carousel and can leave you dizzy."

That was Alex Ferguson's description of Barca's approach and here we take a look at the 11 starters who subjected United to that punishment in Rome - part of a historic treble.

 

VICTOR VALDES

Goalkeeper Valdes was perhaps not always given the credit he deserved for his ability as a shot-stopper - there were a couple of brave blocks from Cristiano Ronaldo in the final - but there was no doubting his reputation as a pioneer with the ball at his feet.

The Spaniard was key to the way Barca played as he offered an option to his defenders, continuing to contribute to the club's success until 2014 and then ending his career in England with United and Middlesbrough.

CARLES PUYOL

Just as Barca brought something different to the goalkeeping position, Dani Alves altered the full-back's role. He was absent for the final due to suspension, so captain Puyol moved across from centre-back and was similarly effective, marauding down the right.

Puyol scored a World Cup semi-final winner the following year and retired in 2014 having won just about every trophy imaginable.

YAYA TOURE

With Puyol out of position, Toure had to be too. Rafael Marquez was injured and the Ivory Coast midfielder was given an uncomfortable time by Ronaldo at centre-back.

But Toure prevailed and went on to become a Premier League great at Manchester City, winning the last of his three titles after being reunited with Guardiola in 2017-18.

GERARD PIQUE

A former United man, Pique kept Barca on terms early on with a brave block following a Ronaldo free-kick.

And despite having since got his hands on almost every piece of silverware the sport has to offer, some would argue Pique is still improving after a fine campaign in 2018-19 - even if this month's Champions League semi-final against Liverpool was a real low point.

SYLVINHO

Eric Abidal's absence compounded Barca's defensive worries ahead of the final, with veteran left-back Sylvinho turning out for the final time before he joined City.

A short stint in the Premier League, where he had previously played for Arsenal, saw the end of the Brazilian's playing days, but he is back in the spotlight now as the new head coach of Lyon.

SERGIO BUSQUETS

This was Busquets' breakthrough season and he has scarcely stopped winning since. A calmer influence than the more expansive Toure, he nailed down a position in the middle of the carousel.

Seen for many years as the least glamorous of Barca's midfield options, the club are now hoping to groom a long-term replacement in the form of €75million man Frenkie de Jong.

XAVI HERNANDEZ

This was a match that typified Xavi's brilliance. One of the greatest passers of all time, he created the second goal for Messi with a gorgeous lofted ball, having earlier struck the post with a 20-yard free-kick.

He took in a further two Champions League final triumphs, bowing out in the 2015 defeat of Juventus. He retired from playing with Al-Sadd this month.

ANDRES INIESTA

Iniesta's sensational strike at Chelsea took Barca to the final, where he again showed his wonderful blend of passing precision and untouchable dribbling.

A decisive World Cup final goal when Spain downed the Netherlands in 2010 followed and Iniesta, like Xavi and now Busquets, has proved extremely difficult for Barca to replace. A once-in-a-generation talent in any other Blaugrana generation.

LIONEL MESSI

Heading into the 2009 final, Messi had never played on such a stage - having missed out through injury three years earlier - and was coming off his first season with more than 20 LaLiga goals. A stunning header capped the triumph.

What has happened since requires little explanation. Messi has established himself as perhaps the greatest player of all time, with goals, assists, runs, passes and lots and lots of trophies.

SAMUEL ETO'O

Eto'o was the only player in this side to go on to win the trophy again the following year. Barca were up against it for 10 minutes until a glorious dart inside Nemanja Vidic opened space for a low finish.

A move to Inter followed and Eto'o triumphed again, playing a supporting role to Diego Milito as Jose Mourinho's men beat Bayern Munich 2-0, before touring Europe in the latter stages of his career. He now plays in Qatar.

THIERRY HENRY

Henry and Arsenal were beaten by Barca in the 2006 final and a move to Camp Nou was long mooted for the Premier League's standout player. It finally came in 2007, and he initially excelled on the left of Guardiola's front three.

But Pedro's emergence hastened his departure a year on from Rome and he ended his career with a successful stint at New York Red Bulls. This season's brief tenure in charge of former club Monaco will not be so fondly remembered.

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