Barcelona have dismissed reports claiming they will fire coach Frank Rijkaard at the end of the season.
The club have endured an inconsistent campaign as they have struggled to keep pace with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, although they look on course to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League after Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Schalke.
Rijkaard’s future at Camp Nou has been the subject of constant speculation with the likes of Jose Mourinho linked with a possible move to Barca.
Catalan television TV-3 reported that club president Joan Laporta had agreed to appoint the club’s former player Pep Guardiola, coach of its reserve team, as Rijkaard’s replacement.
However, Barca have moved quickly to deny the rumours and insist they have no plans to remove Rijkaard.
“FC Barcelona emphatically denies that a decision has been taken to replace the football coach, Frank Rijkaard, for the next season,” read a club statement.
“The Dutch manager has a contract until the 2009 season and the board of directors has complete confidence in him,” it added.
Rijkaard, 45, has coached FC Barcelona since the 2003-04 season. He led the club to two Spanish league titles in 2005 and 2006 and the Champions League title in 2006.
Barcelona are currently third in the Spanish league, seven points behind defending champions Real Madrid after 30 matches.