Premier League fans would love to see Lionel Messi move to England before his career ends but, at the age of 29, that is looking increasingly unlikely.
The Argentine superstar has played his entire senior career at Barcelona having progressed through their famous La Masia academy.
After 12 seasons at Camp Nou, it seems the only club he would leave Barcelona for is his youth club Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina.
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However, with the arrival of Pep Guardiola in the Premier League, there is fresh hope that Messi can be convinced to play in England before his career is over. And that’s not speculative hope from desperate football fans, that’s genuine hope from Guardiola himself.
Yesterday, reports from Mundo Deportivo claimed Guardiola had contacted Messi last summer to try to convince him to join Manchester City. However, the Spaniard rejected those claims by insisting he would like to see him retire at the Catalan club.
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Having said that, Guardiola did subtly offer Messi the chance to join the Etihad club if ever he wanted a new challenge, or if he wanted his sons to speak English.
Messi to England?
"I didn't call Leo Messi," said Guardiola. "Because my greatest wish is for him to finish his career here.
"So he can play many years here, because this is the best place for him to stay.
"But eventually, one day, the kid may decide to play elsewhere. Maybe because he wants his sons to learn English, or to live a new experience, like it has happened to many of us in the past. That is a possibility.
"But if one day he decides to do so, and I wish it won't happen, but if it happens there will be a list of four, five people and clubs wanting to sign him.
"But you know who is going to decide that? It will be he. It won't be me, if I want to sign him, or anybody else. It will be the decision of Leo Messi."
Guardiola will, of course, be trying to stop Messi in tonight’s Champions League clash at Camp Nou as his City team side take on Luis Enrique’s side.
But, although he’s only just recovered from injury, stopping Messi is easier said than done - something Guardiola knows all too well.
Trying to stop Messi
"I am playing against Barcelona and obviously their best player is Leo Messi," added the City boss.
"I am happy he has recovered from his injury and is able to play. It is always a pleasure, and a satisfaction to see him play.
"I don't know what instructions I can give the players to control the talent.
"Ninety minutes is a long time. They will have a moment and they are so precise. They don't need to create a lot of chances to score a goal.
"It is a good test for us, to know our level against - for me - the best team."
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