Pep Guardiola discusses Lionel Messi transfer as Man City prepare to step up pursuit

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Pep Guardiola has left the door open to a potential move for Lionel Messi by admitting he does not know what the Barcelona superstar wants.

City were heavily linked with Messi after the Argentine announced his intention to leave Camp Nou last summer.

Though the 33-year-old eventually U-turned on his decision, City remain determined to sign him and will step up their pursuit after Guardiola signed a two-year extension at the Etihad on Thursday.

But the Spaniard refused to be drawn on a potential swoop for Messi as a free agent in the summer, repeating his claim he would like to see the player retire in Catalonia while admitting the six-time Ballon d'Or winner must make his own decision.

Guardiola has extended his stay at the Etihad to 2023
(Image: Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)

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"He’s a player for Barca, and if you ask my opinion, I have a huge gratitude for what Barca has done for me," said Guardiola.

"They gave me everything, so what I want is for him to finish his career there. I’ve said maybe a thousand times for Leo to finish there.

"But he has a year to finish and I don’t know what happens in his mind.

Will we see Guardiola and Messi in the same dressing room again? Have your say here.

The pair enjoyed huge success together across four seasons at Camp Nou
(Image: AFP/Getty Images)

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"He’s a Barca player and the transfer market is in July. We’ve targets to achieve and the rest I cannot say anything else, as always."

Messi and Guardiola combined to win seven major honours between 2008 and 2012, including the historic treble of 2009 and another Champions League triumph in 2011.

Guardiola has since enjoyed huge domestic success with Bayern Munich and Manchester City, winning 11 major honours in Germany and England.

But has been unable to get his hands on Europe's greatest prize for a third time.

Should he link up with Messi again, he may be able to end his barren run by clinching the Champions League.

Messi is also desparate to lift the trophy for a fifth time and will be well aware his scope to do so is running out.

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