Pep Guardiola has urged Lionel Messi to remain at Barcelona for the rest of his career amid reports he could reunite with his old boss at Manchester City.
Messi, 32, has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp this week following a public spat with Barca sporting director Eric Abidal.
Pep Guardiola does not believe Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona at the end of the season
Abidal suggested that some Barcelona players weren’t working hard enough under former boss Ernesto Valverde, comments which incensed the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
But Guardiola, with whom Messi won three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues, cannot see an exit materialising.
On the rumours, Guardiola said: “He is a player for Barcelona and he will stay there. That is my wish.
“I am not going to talk about players from other clubs. I think he is going to finish his career there.”
Messi posted the above message on Instagram in response to Abidal’s comments
Meanwhile, Guardiola is unsure how long Raheem Sterling will be sidelined for after being forced off injured in City’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham last weekend.
He said: “It’s a hamstring injury. It takes weeks, but I don’t know (how long) right now.
“It is a problem being without him but we were without Gundo (Ilkay Gundogan) in the first season and (Aymeric) Laporte this season. It is what it is.”
Leroy Sane is back training for Manchester City
Gary Lineker on his love for Lionel Messi
The good news for Guardiola is that Leroy Sane is back in training after a lengthy injury lay-off.
“He has started to train with us. He needs to recover tempo and confidence,” Guardiola revealed.
“It needs time. He needs weeks.”
City entertain West Ham on Saturday as they bid to return to winning ways and strengthen their grasp on a top-two spot, with Guardiola’s side currently two points ahead of Leicester.