Pep admits he would want to sign Messi
PEP GUARDIOLA HAS admitted Manchester City would be in the queue to sign Lionel Messi if the Barcelona forward decides to ‘go and play somewhere else’ before the end of his career.
Former Barcelona coach Guardiola faced the Spanish champions last night for only the second time since ending his four-year reign as coach at the Nou Camp in 2012.
And Argentine forward Messi was set to start against City after returning to action at the weekend following a recent injury layoff.
Messi has proven to be the architect of City’s downfall during two second-round encounters between the two clubs in recent seasons, but the 29-year-old’s long-term future in Catalonia remains uncertain.
Yet despite firmly rejecting Spanish claims that he had contacted some of Barcelona’s outfield players this summer – Guardiola admitted to speaking to goalkeepers MarcAndre Ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo – the City manager insisted he would be one of many coaches interested on luring Messi away from Barcelona.
“I never, never called Leo Messi,” Guardiola said. “In the case of Leo, I really hope he plays and finishes his career here [in Barcelona], but maybe one day, he will want to go and play somewhere else.
“Maybe he wants his kids to speak English and live somewhere else. If he decided that, there would be a list of 6, 7, 8 clubs, but Leo will decide where he goes.”
“I didn’t call any player on the phone,” Guardiola added. “I know there are some wars that are lost before they even start.
“I’m not going to justify my words against what is said, but it would be nice if you can hear both versions.
“I called Thiago (Alcantara) at time I moved to Munich because his representative is my brother and he came to Bayern.
“But this summer, I never called Messi, Neymar, Busquets, Suarez, Iniesta, anybody.
“Ter Stegen? We got in touch, because we knew he wanted to play all the time and he was not happy with the situation, but Claudio Bravo came and Ter Stegen decided to play.
“If I ever called a player in another team it would be because he’s not playing.” – The Independent