Pep Guardiola Denies Manchester City Made €250M Lionel Messi Transfer BidNovember 2, 2018
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has dismissed speculation that the club made a move for Barcelona icon Lionel Messi and has said he will never try to sign him in the future.
It was reported by El Mundo (h/t Football Espana) that City were ready to meet the €250 million (£219 million) clause in Messi's old contract. The Argentina international signed a new deal in 2017 that included a trigger amount of €700 million (£614 million).
However, when asked about the rumours on Friday in his press conference, Guardiola rubbished any notion that City tried to sign the 31-year-old, per James Robson of the Evening Standard.
"When I left Barcelona and went to Bayern Munich and Manchester City I never asked Messi to come here," said the City manager. "I never went to both clubs and said I want this player. I know how important he is for Barcelona. I never made the first step to say I want this player. Never. I said a thousand times I want him to stay at Barcelona. I want that."
Here's more of what the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss had to say:
Guardiola and Messi linked up to great effect at the Camp Nou, as the coach brought the best out of the forward in one of the all-time great club sides.
Messi remains among the finest players in world football, and the clause in his new contract is indicative of how crucial Barcelona think their No. 10 is. Per Football Espana, the Argentina star takes home a yearly wage of €35 million (£31 million) as part of his new deal.
Messi continues to cement his status as one of the greatest footballers in history; he has won La Liga nine times, the Copa del Rey six times and the UEFA Champions League on four occasions.
With seven goals and five assists in La Liga this season, there aren't any signs of him slowing down, either.
Messi continues to excel in European competition too:
While Messi would improve any side in the world, City are one of the few teams in the game who boast attacking talent to rival the likes of Barcelona.
Guardiola's side have scored 27 goals in 10 Premier League games this season, and the coach has an embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal. The addition of Riyad Mahrez has given City even more depth in the final third, with Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus also battling for a spot in the front line.
Unsurprisingly, the goals have flowed:
It would be a big surprise if Messi was to leave Barcelona any time soon, especially following the long-term contract he signed last season.
Seeing Messi in the Premier League and working alongside Guardiola again would no doubt be fascinating. Even so, the Barcelona man continues to amaze every week in La Liga, as do City in English football's top flight.