The Argentine appears poised to stay at the side he has played for all his life, with his former boss believing that it would be the right call
Pep Guardiola hopes that Lionel Messi can finish his career with Barcelona, with the Manchester City manager stating that the Argentine “will not find a better home” than the Catalan outfit.
Following an explosive aborted exit last summer, the Blaugrana captain is reportedly closing in on new terms with Ronald Koeman’s side.
Guardiola, who coached Messi through his rise to the top of world football during a four-year spell in charge at Camp Nou, is hopeful that the 33-year-old will remain at the only professional team he has ever known.
What did Guardiola say?
“I hope he can finish his career at Barca,” the Spaniard told television outlet TV3. “Messi will not find a better home than at Barca.
“The only thing that needs to be done, as our dear teacher (former Barca player and manager Johan Cruyff) said, is to go back to the origins, to rescue the cause of things, which makes Barca special in many things in the way they play.
“We know how to do it. The founding thing is already done. All you have to do is dust it off, put some oil on it, the nails … and do it again. There is no better club to do it.”
Messi and Guardiola’s history
Both player and manager are considered Barca legends, having presided jointly over a historic treble during their first season together across the 2008-09 campaign.
The pair won two more top-flight titles and a further Champions League crown, among other honours, during the remainder of Guardiola’s stay at the club, before the manager swapped Barca for Bayern Munich.
Such was the warmth of the pair’s bond, it has only provided further fuel for rumours during Messi’s uncertain future that he would link up with his former manager again at Manchester City.
The bigger picture
Even in the expected twilight of his career, Messi continues to remain one of the strongest performers in world football, but the likelihood of an impending renewal at Barca is more than just a footballing matter.
It would allow the Argentine to have a hand in shaping the next generation of talent to come through the ranks of Camp Nou, and would likely provide a further financial boost in name recognition alone for Koeman’s side.
As for Guardiola, he sits on the cusp of claiming a third Champions League title – and first with City, having previously failed to reach the semi-finals with the club during his tenure – after his side triumphed over 10-man Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their last-four encounter this week.
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