Pep ad­mits he would want to sign Messi

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY MARK OG­DEN

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

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