Guardiola wants Messi to stay at Barcelona

Barca forever? Lionel Messi. Picture: Sport Images / Getty Images
Barca forever? Lionel Messi. Picture: Sport Images / Getty Images

Pep Guardiola has played down suggestions that Lionel Messi could join him at Manchester City, and believes the forward will end his playing days at Barcelona.

Messi (32) has spent his career with Barca, but has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for free this summer.

Guardiola coached Messi at Camp Nou between 2008 and 2012, winning three La Ligas and two Champions Leagues.

“He will stay there [at Barca]; that’s my wish,” said the City boss.

Guardiola left Barca for Bayern Munich after becoming their most successful manager with 14 trophies in four seasons.

He went on to win three successive league titles in Germany and has won the Premier League for the past two seasons with City, though they trail Liverpool by 22 points this term with only 13 games remaining.

Messi, who has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award six times, 10 league titles and four Champions Leagues, is under contract until next year.

He spoke out this week against Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal after the Frenchman accused players of not working hard under former coach Ernesto Valverde.

Barca are three points behind leaders Real Madrid in La Liga, but Guardiola would not be drawn on the apparent unrest between Messi and Abidal, who are both former players of his, saying: “I’m not going to talk about players for other clubs. I think he will finish his career there.” – BBC

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