Hope in the City
years of service for the Argentine national side.
But speaking last month, Guardiola denied that he had made any form of move to bring Messi to City.
“I did not call Messi, I want him to finish his career here (in Barcelona),” Guardiola said.
“If he decides to leave, there will be a list of 4-6 clubs that will want to sign him in.
“But that will be decided by him, not me or anyone else.”
Nonetheless, the Spaniard suggested that Messi could be tempted to make the switch for the opportunity of a “new experience”.
“But just the same, the kid might want a change, for his children, to learn English, or for a new experience.”
Rumours linking Messi to City have been sparked by Spanish sports daily Marca’s recent allegations that the player has grown disillusioned with Barcelona due to his on-going dispute with Spanish tax authorities.
Messi was handed a suspended 21-month prison sentence in July for tax evasion after he and his father were found guilty of using tax havens in order to hide more than £3 million (RM16.5m) in earnings.
Barcelona are angry with Marca after they led Monday’s newspaper with a cover story claiming that Messi’s rejection of their latest contract offer was revenge for snubbing their awards ceremony last month.
According to Spanish newspaper Sport, there may be ulterior motives behind the story, at least that’s what Barcelona suspect.
It’s claimed that talks with Messi remain ongoing and that the Spanish champions believe the revelations are revenge for not turning up to Marca’s awards ceremony on Oct 25.
The Catalan club decided to snub the awards ceremony due to the president of the Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP), Javier Tebas, being awarded a fair play achievement.
Tebas criticised Barcelona players following the 3-2 victory at Valencia for their actions after items were thrown at them from the home fans, with Neymar appearing to be struck by a bottle that also saw Luis Suarez fall to the ground clutching his face.
It must also be said that the state of Spanish newspapers adds doubts to the story that Messi has snubbed Barcelona, given Marca’s strong ties to their arch-rivals Real Madrid. Sport, a Barcelona-based newspaper, often contradict reports that appear in Marca, and vice versa. – The Independent
Argentina’s Lionel Messi struggles for the ball with Colombia’s midfielders Wilmar Barrios (centre) and Carlos Sanchez (right) during yesterday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier in San Juan. – AFPPIX