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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told Lionel Messi to remain with Barcelona

Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola

Despite the recent tornado of rumors revolving Lionel Messi and his exit from Barcelona, his former manager Pep Guardiola advised him to stay with the club.  According to Sergi Solé of Mundo Deportivo (via AS), Guardiola prompted Messi with what he would do if he were in a similar position.

The Manchester City manager recommended the Argentine superstar to play out the remaining year of his contract at Barcelona, considering the financial implications would make it difficult to bring him to Manchester.

Solé also notes Manchester City could devise a Lionel Messi transfer if he was to leave on a free transfer. Man City is fresh off hopscotching a two-year ban from the UEFA Champions League and is looking to avoid any issues with the Financial Fair Play rules, even after UEFA relaxed some balance to help the fluidity of the transfer market.

If the decision to send a burofax to the Barcelona board last Tuesday caught the Blaugrana by surprise, it didn’t fare much differently for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City — something that was evidenced by the signings of Ferran Torres, Nathan Aké, and most recently the link with Kalidou Koulibaly, who agreed to personal terms and is hoping to leave Napoli sooner than later.

Manchester City hasn’t spent gaudily, but if they were conscient of Lionel Messi’s departure, they would have sold players or made room to make him the top priority. That was never the case.

Pep Guardiola and the City directive have chosen to remain silent until Messi’s father, Jorge, ekes out a potential exit strategy in an impending meeting with Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Without a clear line to a solution, the move to Manchester City could have to wait another year.