Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola says he wants Lionel Messi to finish his career at Barcelona.
Guardiola signed a two-year contract extension with City on Thursday November 19, with reports stating that he will try to sign Messi, who came close to leaving Barcelona last summer.
Messi’s contract ends next summer and he could sign pre-contract terms with any club outside Spain from 1 January.
Messi had looked set to join City after putting in a transfer request in August, only for Barcelona’s then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu to block the transfer citing legal issues if Messi tries to force it.
Bartomeu then resigned in October but Messi’s future is uncertain.
Guardiola said: “Messi is a Barcelona player. I said it a thousand times. As a fan, I want Leo to finish there.”
“His contract finishes this year [season] and I don’t know what will happen in his mind,” Guardiola said.
“I have huge gratitude for Barcelona and what they have done for me,” said Guardiola, who worked with Messi when managing Barcelona between 2008 and 2012.
“In the academy, as a player and a manager, they gave me absolutely everything. Right now Messi is a Barcelona player and the transfer market is in June and July.
“We have incredible games and targets and things we would like to achieve. That is the only thing in our mind. The rest, I cannot say anything.”
Guardiola’s new deal will take him to 2023 but despite the obvious interest in him, the 49-year-old tactician says he had no interest in moving anywhere else.
“I didn’t think about anywhere else, just to stay here,” he said.
“The decision was not just mine, it was the club’s as well. If we had felt it was enough, I would have taken a break.
“But we have the feeling we still have many things to do together. We want to continue what we have done in the previous seasons.”