Pique: Defeating Chelsea could have kept Guardiola at Barcelona

The defender believes the future Bayern Munich boss would have stayed if the club had achieved European success last year, and wants Zlatan Ibrahimovic's suspension to be cut

Gerard Pique thinks that Barcelona could have persuaded Pep Guardiola to remain in charge if it had beaten Chelsea in last year’s Champions League semifinal.

The Blaugrana were defeated over two legs by the eventual European champion in the 2011-12 campaign, and the Spaniard left his position at Camp Nou once the season had finished.

Speaking ahead of Spain’s clash with Finland on Friday, the former Manchester United center back believes that Guardiola - who will replace Jupp Heynckes at Bayern Munich in the summer - could have been talked into staying had he achieved continental glory.

He told reporters on Thursday: "We were left with the feeling that if we had beaten Chelsea in the semifinals and then gone on to win the Champions League, we could have convinced him to stay another year. You never know."

The defender praised stand-in boss Jordi Roura for how he has coped in Tito Vilanova’s absence, but admitted he is excited about Tito Vilanova’s return as head coach once his health has recovered.

He added: "We can't wait [for Tito to come back], although Jordi Roura has done an invaluable job standing in for him."

Pique also revealed his desire to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s suspension cut on appeal, allowing him to play in both legs of Barca’s quarterfinal against Paris Saint-Germain.

“I prefer that Zlatan plays."