MADRID Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola can extend his contract for as long as he wants and the club are hoping he will emulate long-serving Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, president Sandro Rosell said on Wednesday.
Guardiola, 39, has led the Spanish champions to eight trophies, including the 2009 Champions League, in his two and a half seasons in charge and while there is no indication he will leave he has yet to agree a contract extension beyond the end of the current campaign.
Ferguson, who will be 69 on New Year's Eve, surpassed Matt Busby's record of 24 years, one month and 13 days in the job on Sunday and has won 11 English league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions Leagues.
"I would like (Guardiola) to be the Ferguson of Barca," Rosell, who took over as president at the end of last season, told a news conference looking back on 2010.
"And later the Beckenbauer," he said, referring to the former Bayern Munich player and coach Franz Beckenbauer who is now honorary president of the Bundesliga club. "That is to say, that after coaching the team he becomes club president."
Rosell said club officials and Guardiola, who came through the Barca youth ranks, had yet to meet to formally discuss a contract extension.
He added that he personally favoured renewing from season to season and that there was no rush.
"There is a process needed for everything so that things are done well," he said.
"But I don't see any problem. He knows that he can extend his contract for as many years as he wants.
"If I had to put money at stake I would bet that he will extend his contract.
"Pep is from Barca, he feels Barca and he understands the club. He always thinks about the club first. And that is the big difference between him and the others."
(Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by Sonia Oxley))