Barca players urged Guardiola to stay

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Barcelona captain Carles Puyol says players urged departing coach Pep Guardiola to stay at the club.

The Spanish international says "we all wanted Guardiola to stay on and we told him so. It's a tough blow, but the best news that we could receive is that Tito Vilanova is continuing."

Guardiola announced Friday that he is leaving the club after winning 13 titles in four seasons. Assistant coach Vilanova will take over at the end of the season.

Guardiola has a chance to collect a 14th piece of silverware in his last game when Barcelona plays Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.

Puyol says "there is still a title in play and now we will be even more motivated to win it" for Guardiola.