Pep Guardiola has reiterated that he “would like” Lionel Messi to see his Barcelona career amid further speculation linking Manchester City to the superstar striker. (More football news)
Messi failed in his attempt to leave Barca for a free transfer at the end of last season, but is out of contract next July.
The Argentina international thrived under Guardiola during his four seasons working together at Camp Nou and they were invited to reunite at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola struck a new two-year deal with City on Thursday, stepping up speculation about a move for Messi next year, but he again spoke of his belief that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner should stay at Barca.
“Messi is a Barcelona player,” he said at a pre-match press conference predicting the Premier League clash with Tottenham on Saturday.
– PepTeam (@PepTeam) November 19, 2020
“If you ask me for my opinion, I have immense gratitude for what Barcelona have done for me – at the academy, as a player and as a coach, they have given me absolutely everything.
“What I want is [for Messi] to end his career there. I would love to, I would like to. That’s what I said, I don’t know how many times, maybe a thousand times.
“Right now he is a Barcelona player and the transfer market will be in June or July. We have some amazing games to play and achievements to try to achieve and that is only on our minds.”
Guardiola’s new deal will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until the end of the 2022-23 campaign and the Catalan coach is keen to add to his collection of trophies.
“All the managers are there to win titles,” he said. “We did an incredible job to win eight.
“I say an amazing thank you for the opportunity to continue here. People say thank you to me but I say thank you to the club. That is why I am here.
“They have given me a lot, we continue to do our best to make our people do the best they can.”
The contract extension also ends speculation about a possible return to Barcelona from Guardiola, who were keen to praise City for the way they have handled the problems off the pitch this year.
“There are many reasons why I signed,” he said. “The club did not ask the government for leave, did not fire a person. They showed me how good they are in so many ways.
“The decision was not just mine. The team is comfortable together and now we will try to continue doing what we have done in previous seasons.”
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