Pep Guardiola has disclosed that he prefers that Lionel Messi finishes his career at Barcelona rather than join him at Manchester City.
Guardiola was Barcelona manager from 2008 to 2012 and works alongside former Barca directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain at City, so it is little surprise the Premier League champions have been tipped as favourites to sign Messi if he decides to leave the Camp Nou.
City have been linked with the Argentine striker every season since Guardiola arrived in England in 2016, but after spending his entire career with the Catalan club, the City manager repeated his oft-stated opinion that he thinks – and hopes – Messi will stay there until his retirement.
“He will stay there, that’s my wish,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
“I’m not going to talk about players for other clubs. I think he will finish his career there, that’s my wish.”
Messi has a release clause in his contract this summer and reports in Spain and England have suggested he could trigger it after a rift with Barcelona’s sporting director Eric Abidal, who has accused the players of getting former manager Ernesto Valverde the sack.