Manchester City have never attempted to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona, insists Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has unequivocally dismissed speculation suggesting Manchester City have attempted to sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona.

A report by Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Friday claimed that City last year offered to meet the €250million release clause in Messi’s previous Barcelona contract.

Messi subsequently signed a new contract at the Camp Nou with an increased €700million release clause, effectively tying him down until 2021.

Guardiola won three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues with Messi at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012 and has long been linked with the Argentine.

However, Guardiola insisted on Friday that he has never sought to bring Messi to either his former club Bayern Munich or to Manchester.

“I said many, many times since I came here. When I left Barcelona, Bayern and now City that never have I asked Lionel Messi to join Bayern Munich or here,” the City manager said.

“I never went to both clubs and said I want this player. Never. I know how important he is to Barcelona.

“Myself, I have never spoken, never made the first step – and I’d never do that. I’ve said one thousand times about that.”

Messi will be 34-years-old by the time his current Barcelona contract expires in 2021, while Guardiola’s current City deal expires the same summer.

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