Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he wants Lionel Messi to stay at Barcelona and finish his career with the parent club. Guardiola renewed his contract with Citizens for another two years on Thursday was immediately linked with ex-player who was speculated to regroup with him last summer. Argentine’s contract expires next summer enabling him to sign pre-contract terms with any club outside Spain form Jan 1, 2020.
Guardiola said: “Messi is a Barcelona player. I said it a thousand times. As a fan, I want Leo to finish there.”
The GOAT midfielder who came close sign with City after putting in a transfer request in August was blocked by Blaugrana then President Josep Maria Bartomeu. Bartomeu then stepped down in October but Messi’s future with the club remains uncertain.
“His contract finishes this year [season] and I don’t know what will happen in his mind,” Guardiola said.
Reports also suggest that Argentine playmaker has also approached Ligue 1 giants PSG but every candidate in Barcelona Presidential election – due to take place in January – has expressed his will to persuade the 33-year old to not change his destination.
“I have huge gratitude for Barcelona and what they have done for me,” said Guardiola, who worked with Messi when managing the club between 2008 and 2012.
“In the academy, as a player and a manager, they gave me absolutely everything. Right now, Messi is a Barcelona player and the transfer market is in June and July.
“We have incredible games and targets and things we would like to achieve. That is the only thing in our mind. The rest, I cannot say anything.”
Guardiola’s new deal will allow him to complete seven seasons with the Sky Blues, as long as he spent at Barca and Bayern combine. The Spaniard about his own career as a manager, Guardiola said “I didn’t think about anywhere else, just to stay here”.
He was responding to the rumors of him leaving the fields of Etihad Stadium. The 49-year old said he if not handed an extension at Man City, would have no interest in moving anywhere and would instead have opted to take a break from the game again as he did when he left the Catalan outfit in 2012.
“The decision was not just mine, it was the club’s as well. If we had felt it was enough, I would have taken a break.
“But we have the feeling we still have many things to do together. We want to continue what we have done in the previous seasons.”