Outgoing Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has denied having any contact with Chelsea, insisting it would have shown "disrespect" to his employers if he had done so.
Guardiola confirmed on Friday that he would leave Barca at the end of the season after an incredibly successful four years in charge, with his assistant Tito Vilanova already announced as his successor.
Guardiola insists he now plans to take a break from the game, but speculation persists that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich might try to tempt him to reconsider.
Spanish sports daily AS reported a meeting between Guardiola and Abramovich had taken place in Paris in February, but when he was asked today whether that was the case, Guardiola replied: "No. That would have been disrespectful towards the club."
Abramovich is a known admirer of Barcelona's attractive possession game and the Blues are still to confirm a permanent successor to Andre Villas-Boas, although Roberto Di Matteo has impressed in an interim capacity, leading Chelsea to the Champions League final after seeing off Barca in the semis, as well as guiding them to the FA Cup final.
Guardiola explained the fear of burn-out was behind his decision to walk and revealed he would now be taking time away from the pressures of coaching.
"I would like you to understand that this is not an easy decision for me. But I would like to explain my reasons for this decision," he said.
"I have always wanted short-term contracts. Four years is an eternity as Barca coach. In the month of October I announced to the president and to the sporting director that I thought my spell was coming to an end.
"I have given everything and I have nothing left and need to recharge my batteries.
"The demands have been great and I have not been able to rest much. I have to recover and the only way I can do that is by distancing myself. Otherwise, we would have ended up damaging each other.
"I know that I'm leaving the best place to work in. I am very satisfied with the results we have achieved. I have had the great privilege of coaching fantastic players. I want to thank them.
"I don't know what I will do now but I will not go straight to coaching."
President Sandro Rosell hailed Guardiola's contribution and backed Vilanova to continue Barca's success.
He said: "Pep always takes the best decision for this club. It was his decision and it's a personal one and an understandable one.
"We hope to follow the inheritance that Pep leaves us with the best we can. He has made us proud.
"Tito and Andoni (Zubizarreta, sporting director) will now work on next season's planning and I am sure they will do a good job."
Guardiola succeeded Frank Rijkaard in 2008 and has gone on to become the most successful coach in the club's illustrious history.
He departs having led the azulgrana to two Champions League crowns, three La Liga trophies, one Copa del Rey, three Supercopas, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.
But last Saturday's home defeat to Real Madrid means the Primera Division title is Bernabeu-bound while their Champions League defence ended with Tuesday's elimination by Chelsea.
Guardiola's final match is scheduled to be the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao next month.
Pep Guardiola factfile
1971: Born January 18 in Manresa, Barcelona. Nicknamed 'Pep'.
1990: December - Makes Barcelona debut against Cadiz. Coach Johan Cruyff converts him from right wing to centre midfield.
1991: Makes four league appearances as Barca win Primera Division.
1992: May - Helps Barca retain league title and win European Cup, beating Sampdoria 1-0 at Wembley.
August - Scores in Olympic final in Barcelona against Ghana as Spain take gold medal.
October - Makes full international debut in Belfast against Northern Ireland.
1993: Makes 28 appearances as Barca win third consecutive title.
1994: The Cruyff 'Dream Team' make it four league wins in a row, with Guardiola as captain on last day of the season.
1995: Scores his first two top-flight goals, but Barca are beaten to the title by Real Madrid.
1996: Cruyff quits. Barca make Copa del Rey final, but are beaten by Atletico Madrid in Copa and the league. Spain coach Javier Clemente leaves Guardiola out of Euro '96 squad.
1997: Barca, under Bobby Robson, win Copa del Rey and European Cup Winners' Cup but again finish behind Madrid in league. Louis van Gaal becomes new trainer at Nou Camp.
1998: Barcelona beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on aggregate to take last European Super Cup played over two legs. Van Gaal's side also win La Liga and Copa del Rey but Guardiola plays only six times and misses out on World Cup squad place.
1999: Barca retain league, but fail to make the Champions League final at the Nou Camp. Guardiola plays 22 times, scoring once.
2000: Barca defeated 5-3 on aggregate by Valencia in Champions League semi-finals. Finish second in Primera Division, five points behind Deportivo La Coruna. Plays in all four of Spain's Euro 2000 games.
2001: June - Barca finish season in fourth. Knocked out of Copa del Rey at last-four stage by Celta Vigo. The 1-1 second-leg draw at Nou Camp is Guardiola's last game in the Blaugrana shirt.
September - Signs for Brescia in Serie A.November 11 - Banned from Italian football, having tested positive for nandrolone after Brescia's 1-0 win over Piacenza on October 21.
November 28 - Tests positive for nandrolone again after match against Lazio on November 4. Later banned for a total of four months by Lega Calcio and fined 2000 euros.
2002: Signs for Roma but plays only four games in his one season at the club. Returns to Brescia in winter transfer window where, along with Roberto Baggio, he is key in helping them avoid relegation.
2003: Signs for Qatari side Al-Ahly for two seasons and has an immediate impact, winning the best foreign newcomer award.
2005: After a coaching course in Spain, joins Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico in December, but only plays until March before returning to finish the course.
2006: July - Becomes a qualified coach.
November - Announces his retirement from playing.
2007: July - Named as coach of Barcelona B.
October - Cleared of drug charges from six years earlier.
2008: Named as head coach of Barcelona, to replace Frank Rijkaard on June 30.
2009: May 2 - Steers Barca to 6-2 victory over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
May 13 - Barcelona defeat Athletic Bilbao 4-1 to win the Copa del Rey and earn Guardiola first silverware as coach.
May 16 - Madrid's defeat at Villarreal secures Barca a first league title since 2006.
May 27 - Barca beat Manchester United 2-0 in Champions League final to become the first Spanish club to complete the treble.
August - Wins European Super Cup with a 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk and the Spanish Supercopa with 5-1 aggregate win over Athletic Bilbao.
December 19 - Barca claim their sixth trophy of the year with a 2-1 win over Estudiantes in the Club World Cup.
2010: April 10 - Becomes the first manager in Barcelona's history to beat Real Madrid four times in a row in El Clasico.
April 28 - Knocked out of Champions League at semi-final stage, going down 3-2 on aggregate to eventual champions Inter Milan.
May - Steers Barca to 20th La Liga title with a European record of 99 points.
July 14 - Signs one-year contract extension to remain at the Nou Camp until June 30, 2011.
November 29 - Leads Barca to a famous 5-0 Clasico victory over Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid.
2011: February - Signs one-year contract extension to keep him at Barca until June 2012.
April 26 - Leads Barca to Copa Del Rey final for second year in a row but they lose 1-0 to Real Madrid.
May 2 - Guides Barca to their second Champions League final in three years, beating Real Madrid over two-legged semi.
May 11 - Leads Barca to third straight Primera Division title, secured with two games to spare by 1-1 draw at Levante.
August - Leads Barcelona to victories in the Spanish Supercopa and UEFA Super Cup.
December 18 - Barca beat Santos 4-0 in the FIFA Club World Cup final.
2012: April 21 - Barca lose 2-1 at home to Real Madrid - a result which puts Mourinho's men seven points clear with just four games remaining.
April 24 - Barca only manage a 2-2 draw at home to Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, meaning they go out 3-2 on aggregate.
April 27 - Announces he will not renew his contract and will leave Barca at the end of the season.