Having been the coach who really gave Lionel Messi his major breakout, Pep Guardiola might believe he knows what is best for his former protégé. And though Messi is now free to sign a deal with whomever he pleases, his long-term connection to Barcelona means he won’t do anything until the season comes to an end. However, as fans might imagine, the whole world has a comment to make on where Messi should next arrive. Will he stay in Barcelona? Or will he arrive in a location like Paris, London, Manchester, or even Turin?
With advice swirling around the world for the superstar, it must be hard to remain focused on the season. With Barcelona throwing away the chance to go top of the league with a 2-1 home loss to Getafe, too, there are worries that Messi will leave his final year at Camp Nou with just a Copa del Rey title in his final season. However, Guardiola – who has been heavily linked with making a move for Messi himself to complete his City project – believes that Messi should stick to where he is at the moment.
What did Guardiola say about Messi’s future?
As someone with a major influence at Barcelona thanks to playing and coaching there, many believe Guardiola will return to Barcelona in some capacity one day. As such, the Spaniard does the best he can to always be polite and diplomatic when asked about internal issues at FCB and back in Spain generally. However, when the question was put to him by TV3, a Spanish TV platform, about the future of Messi, Guardiola was open about his own views.
Speaking about the future of arguably the best player in the history of the sport, Guardiola said: “I hope he can finish his career at Barca. 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."
For fans hoping that Pep can use his history with Messi to sway him to come to Manchester, it sounds unlikely. Reports in Spain suggest FCB will offer Messi a mammoth 10-year deal that will involve moving into other departments and roles once he hangs up his boots. In short, Barca are offering to make Messi part of the institution for the rest of his professional life.
With so many around him saying he should stick around – including ex-teammate and friend Luis Suarez – it feels more likely than ever that Messi will stick around at Barca for a little longer yet.