Pep Guardiola says, as a Barcelona fan, he wants Lionel Messi to remain at the Camp Nou for the rest of his career.
The Manchester City manager signed a new two-year deal with the Premier League runners-up this week, citing “unfinished business” as his reason for staying put.
His previous contract ran out this summer, but has put speculation that he could leave to rest by signing the new deal.
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The renewal has catalysed speculation that Man City could attempt to tempt Messi away from Barcelona.
He and Guardiola worked together to massive success over a four-year period in Catalunya.
Messi has become unhappy with life at Barca, with the club not winning a major trophy for the first time in 12 years last season.
He also regularly butted heads with former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has since been voted out.
The Argentine requested to leave in the summer, but eventually agreed to stay for another year.
Guardiola, when asked about a potential swoop for Messi, admitted he wants the player to finish his career with the Blaugrana.
“Leo Messi is a player for Barcelona and if you’re asking me for my opinion, I am a person who has a huge gratitude to Barcelona for what they did for me as a player, they gave me absolutely everything, from the start, from my time in the academy,” he said.
Messi and Guardiola together
|Competition||Wins with Barcelona|
|Copa del Rey||2🏆🏆|
|Supercopa de Espana||3🏆🏆🏆|
|UEFA Super Cup||2🏆🏆|
|Club World Cup||2🏆🏆|
“So I want him to finish his career there. That is what I want. As a Barcelona fan, I would like for Leo to finish there.”
However, the Spaniard did concede that, when Messi’s contract expires, anything could happen.
“But this year he finishes his contract and after that, we don’t know what will happen and what is in his mind.
“Right now he is a Barcelona player and the transfer market will not open until June or July, so we have our own games and achievements before then. I cannot say anything else.”
Guardiola and City surrendered the Premier League title to Liverpool last season, and will be hoping to reclaim it now Pep has committed his short-term future to the club.
They are, however, off the pace set by Leicester at the moment down in 10th.