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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Manchester City boss Guardiola hopes Messi ends career at Barcelona

(Reuters) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he is unsure what the future holds for Lionel Messi but hopes as a Barcelona fan that the Argentine forward will remain at the La Liga club until the end of his career.

Pep Guardiola wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a crowd: FILE PHOTO: Manchester City v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group C

© Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
FILE PHOTO: Manchester City v FC Barcelona – UEFA Champions League Group Stage – Group C

Guardiola, who has guided City to two Premier League titles, three League Cups and the FA Cup following his arrival in 2016, signed a new two-year deal on Thursday that will keep him in charge until the end of the 2022-23 season.

The former Barca manager’s extension at City has opened up the possibility of a reunion with Messi in England, with the player in the last year of his current contract in Spain having unsuccessfully tried to leave the club in the close season.

“Messi’s a player for Barcelona.

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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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Mario Gotze: Has ‘Germany’s Messi’ been handed a career lifeline?

Mario Gotze in action for Borussia Dortmund
Gotze scored 45 goals in 219 appearances for Borussia Dortmund

Mario Gotze was once seen as Germany’s answer to Lionel Messi.

But after his steep rise to the top of the football world he could never quite meet expectations and, at 28, Gotze could make his PSV Eindhoven debut against PEC Zwolle on Sunday, as he bids for a fresh start.

After spending most of the first half of 2020 on the bench at Borussia Dortmund, his contract quietly ran out. There was little buzz around the attacking midfielder once he became a free agent.

Most of Europe’s top clubs did not seriously consider acquiring Gotze’s services during the summer and it took him until last week to secure a new club, as he signed a two-year contract with PSV.

Setbacks and frustration

Gotze’s downfall in recent years was caused by a mix of bad luck and astronomically high expectations.

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Man City-linked Messi would thrive in any league but finishing career at Barca is more ‘romantic’, says Mendieta

Manchester City-linked superstar Lionel Messi would have no issue adapting to any other league but the “romantic” idea of the Argentina great remaining a one-club man with Barcelona is appealing, says Gaizka Mendieta.

There was a time when the idea of Messi, Barca’s all-time leading goalscorer, departing Camp Nou would have been unthinkable.

But such a notion was a very distinct possibility during a tumultuous period following Barca’s humiliating 8-2 exit at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League in August.

Messi provided Barca with a message notifying the club of his intention to leave, citing his belief that a clause in his contract allowed him to depart on a free transfer.

Both Barca and La Liga disputed his interpretation, stating any potential suitor would have to pay the €700 million (£634m/$820m) release clause or negotiate a fee with Barca.

Consequently, Messi opted to remain at Barca, insisting 

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