Guardiola ignites reports of Messi reunion
Pep Guardiola has hailed Lionel Messi as the “strongest of all”, increasing speculation that Manchester City will sign the Barcelona ace this summer.
Messi’s contract at Camp Nou expires next month but there is still no sign of him penning an extension.
For much of the season it had seemed almost certain that Messi would leave at the end of his contract after he had an explosive falling out with the club’s hierarchy.
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However, the return of former president Joan Laporta this year suddenly gave supporters renewed hope that Messi would stay.
Barca’s poor end to the campaign, as well as their crippling financial position which sees the club €1.2 billion in debt, has complicated a renewal.
Laporta had been hoping to use funds earned from a lucrative European Super League to pay for Messi’s new contract.
But with that project spectacularly collapsing just days after its launch, Barcelona are in a calamitous position financially going into the summer transfer market.
The two clubs most associated with signing Messi on a Bosman are PSG and Man City.
Messi: Statistics in 2020/21
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And City boss Guardiola has hailed the brilliance of Messi in an interview this weekend.
“He’s very strong, the strongest of all. Beyond his quality, it’s his mentality, his head,” Guardiola told Bobo TV.
“In four years at Barcelona, we played a lot of games in training and he didn’t lose even one. If he had lost, he would’ve left. He has that competitive mentality that only four or five players in history have, they have something different.
“We all knew that Messi was the best, but then there were six or seven others who were strong and others who didn’t play because the others were so strong.”
Guardiola and Messi enjoyed four brilliant years together while the Catalan was coach of the club from 2008 to 2012.
Together they won three La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns.
But will they be reuniting in Manchester this summer?