Pep Guardiola has said that he hopes Lionel Messi will finish his Barcelona career, but admits that he does not know what the future holds for the player as his contract at Camp Nou runs out.

Guardiola signed a new two-year contract with Manchester City on Thursday, sparking further speculation that the club could convince Messi to move to the Etihad Stadium if he leaves Barcelona as a free agent in the summer.

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The City manager insists he wants Messi to stay in Spain, but made sure to leave the door open for the 33-year-old to join him in Manchester.

“Lionel Messi is a Barcelona player,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday.

“If you ask me for my opinion as a person, I am extremely grateful for what Barcelona has done for me. In the youth academy as a footballer and later as a coach, he gave me absolutely everything.

“What I want is[for him] to finish his career there. I would love it, I would wish it. That’s what I said, I don’t know how many times maybe a thousand times.

“As a Barcelona fan, I would like Leo to end up there. But this year the contract ends and I don’t know what will happen in his mind. Right now he is a Barcelona player and the transfer market will be in June.” and July “.

Messi declared publicly in the summer that he was unhappy in Barcelona before agreeing to stay at least one more year.

Sources told ESPN that City were ready to make an offer if it had secured his release from the club and they considered themselves in a good position should he be available at the end of the season.

Messi cast more doubts on his future during the international break, saying he is “tired of always being everyone’s problem at the club.”