Manchester City were boosted by the news earlier this week that Pep Guardiola has committed to a new contract that will see him remain as manager of the Citizens until the summer of 2023.
The Spanish manager’s excellent relationship with Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is well-known and with the manager committing his future to Manchester City, perhaps it won’t be too long until the legendary winger follows suit.
City were one of several sides to be linked with the 33-year-old during the summer after he announced that it was his intention to leave Barcelona following a disastrous season that saw them miss out on the La Liga title to rivals Real Madrid, as well as the embarrassing 8-2 loss against Bayern Munich (per Goal).
However, after a dispute over his contract, the Argentinian agreed to stay with the La Liga giants, as they refused to let him leave on a free transfer, meaning his €700 million release clause remained active.
Fortunately for City, and perhaps for Messi, his contract with Blaugrana is set to expire at the end of the current season meaning he will be free to leave then and foreign clubs will also be able to approach the forward in January with the view of him agreeing a pre-contract deal.
Therefore, if Messi is still keen to leave Barcelona, you would imagine that City would be amongst the favourites to sign him, due to their vast funds, as well as his excellent relationship with Guardiola.
During the Spanish manager’s time managing the winger, he contributed an extraordinary 211 goals and 91 assists in just 219 games, so it clear that the two work well together (per Transfermarkt).
Messi praised Guardiola’s influence on Barcelona in an interview in 2011, saying:
“Barcelona would not be the same without Guardiola.” (per Goal)
The respect goes both ways, as the Spanish manager detailed exactly why Messi is a genius in an Amazon prime documentary (via Sport Bible), saying:
“He’s not out of the game. He’s involved. Moving his head. Right, left, left, right.
“He smells who is the weak point of the back four. After five, ten minutes, he has the map.
“He knows if I move here, here, I will have more space to attack. Oh, that’s genius! That is quite incredible.
“We are contemporary of that guy. So enjoy it. Lionel Messi, just simply one of a kind. He is so good.”
Clearly, the two formed a great partnership during their time at Barcelona and following the update on Guardiola’s contract earlier this week, it seems that if Messi does leave Barcelona next summer, he could well end up at the Etihad Stadium.