London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola said Friday that only Lionel Messi knows if a move to Manchester City is a possibility next year after the Argentine reluctantly decided to stay at Barcelona this season.
In an explosive interview earlier this month, Messi blasted Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, accusing him of not keeping his promise to allow him to leave for free at the end of the last campaign.
Instead, Messi was forced to stay or face a court battle with the club he has played for his entire career.
City were believed to be in the driving seat to sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner if he left Catalonia.
“I don’t have to explain anything. I think Leo explained quite well his feelings, I don’t have anything to add,” Guardiola said ahead of City’s first game of the new season, away to Wolves on Monday.
“He is a Barcelona player, the club I love and (I have) nothing more to say.”
Messi will be able to leave Barca for free next summer but his former coach Guardiola, who was Barcelona’s most successful-ever manager with 14 trophies in four years between 2008 and 2012, is in the dark over whether he is keen to come to Manchester.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I cannot talk about the intentions from other people.”
In the aftermath of Messi’s U-turn, City’s summer transfer business in bringing in Ferran Torres from Valencia and Nathan Ake from relegated Bournemouth seems underwhelming.
Guardiola’s men won just the League Cup last season as they finished 18 points behind runaway champions Liverpool.
But after spending hundreds of millions during four years in charge at Abu-Dhabi backed City, Guardiola insisted he had no complaints over the lack of signings so far in the window.
“Since day one when I arrive here, I am more than satisfied with what I had in the team and I know the club do absolutely everything not just for me, for the team, for all of us to do our best,” he said.
“What is going to happen will happen. If we stay with the players we have, I will be happy. I never am going to complain about this. I am a lucky person to have these players to be in this club.”
Sergio Aguero will miss the start of the season due to a long-term knee injury, while Aymeric Laporte will also be absent on Monday due to a lack of pre-season training after testing positive for coronavirus.
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