When the chance arises to sign the best player in the world, it takes a brave man to pass up the opportunity.
Although Lionel Messi hasn’t yet decided whether to commit his future to any club other than Barcelona, he was close to signing for Man City last summer, and indications point to a potential switch at the end of the campaign, when his current contract expires.
However, his former manager, Pep Guardiola, has insisted that he would prefer that the Argentinian stays at Barca, even though it would scupper any reunion between the pair at the Etihad Stadium.
“Leo Messi is a Barcelona player, and if you are asking for my opinion, I am a person who has a great appreciation for Barcelona for what they did for me as a player,” MARCA report him as saying.
“They gave me absolutely everything from the start, from my time at the academy.
“What I want is [for Messi] to finish his career there. I would love it, I would wish it. That is what I said I don’t know how many times, maybe a thousand times.
“I would like as a Barcelona fan for Leo to finish there.”
As if to pacify the City hierarchy, Guardiola did go on to quantify his remarks.
“But he finishes his contract this year and I don’t know what’s going to happen in his mind,” he added, per MARCA.
“Right now he is a Barcelona player and the transfer market will be in June and July.
“We have incredible games and targets and things we would like to achieve. That is the only thing in our mind. The rest I cannot say anything.”
There’s little doubt that if Messi did decide that enough was enough for him at Camp Nou, that a move to Man City would be seismic.
A new project under a manager he knows well, for the last two seasons of his career potentially, has obvious appeal.