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Pep Guardiola wants Lionel Messi to finish career at Barcelona

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Pep Guardiola distanced himself on Friday from suggestions that his decision to extend his contract at Manchester City was linked to the possibility of Lionel Messi moving to the club next year.

City was linked with the 33-year-old Messi after he put in a transfer request at Barcelona during the offseason. The Argentina forward ultimately chose to stay at Barcelona, somewhat against his own wishes, but his contract expires at the end of the season.

Guardiola signed a new two-year deal with City this week that ties him to the club until 2023. He was asked Friday whether the possibility of working with the six-time world player of the year again was motivation for his decision.

“Leo Messi is a player from Barcelona. And you ask me my opinion, as a person who has huge gratitude for what Barcelona has done for me in the academy

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Lionel Messi: Man City boss Pep Guardiola wants forward to end career at Barcelona

Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has spent his whole career with Barcelona having joined the club aged 13

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 and was immediately linked with his ex-player, who came close to moving last summer.

Messi’s contract ends next summer and he could sign pre-contract terms with any club outside Spain from 1 January.

Guardiola said: “Messi is a Barcelona player. I said it a thousand times. As a fan, I want Leo to finish there.”

Argentine playmaker 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.

Bartomeu then resigned in October but Messi’s future remains uncertain.

“His contract finishes this year [season] and I don’t know what will happen in his mind,”

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