Guardiola dismisses Messi links

By Sports Desk February 07, 2020

Pep Guardiola has again insisted he does not want Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona despite speculation he could join Manchester City at the end of the season.

A turbulent week at Camp Nou on and off the pitch has seen Messi's future come under scrutiny.

The club captain called out first-team technical secretary Eric Abidal on social media after the former Barca defender suggested some players had downed tools during Ernesto Valverde's final weeks as head coach.

Messi's response, in which he accused Abidal of "dirtying" the squad and urged him to name names in his criticism, has led to talk that he could utilise his option to have his contract cancelled at the end of 2019-20 and walk away from Barca for free.

Thursday's Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Athletic Bilbao has only heightened the uncertainty around Messi's future, with City reportedly monitoring the situation with a view to making him an offer.

Guardiola has always previously maintained he would not bring Messi to Etihad Stadium, though, and the former Barca boss made it clear again on Friday that he expects the 32-year-old to finish his career at Camp Nou.

"Messi is a player for Barcelona," Guardiola told reporters ahead of Sunday's Premier League game against West Ham. 

"He will stay there. That is my wish. I am not going to talk about players at another club.

"I think he will finish his career there."

Related items

  • Ceballos uncertain on Arsenal future and 'wants to be important' Ceballos uncertain on Arsenal future and 'wants to be important'

    Dani Ceballos recognises he faces an uncertain future at Arsenal and wants to "be important for my new team".

    Spain midfielder Ceballos is on a season-long loan at the Gunners from Real Madrid, a deal which is due to expire on June 30.

    With nearly all of European football on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, it remains to be seen when or even if the season will be finished and what the situation is for players like Ceballos if the campaign heads into July.

    Ceballos has had a hit-and-miss time at Arsenal, missing chunks of the season due to injury, but had worked his way into Mikel Arteta's plans before the Premier League ground to a halt.

    And the 23-year-old is unsure how things will pan out.

    "I finish my contract on June 30 but I would have to [continue to] play for Arsenal [when football returns]. I don't know how [that would work with his loan technically having finished]," he told El Chiringuito de Jugones.

    "It would be irresponsible from my side to talk about my future. The most important thing will be to be important for my new team. 

    "I came to Arsenal to be an important player but in the last month that all disappeared [due to coronavirus stopping football]."

    In January, it was reported Valencia were interested in taking over Ceballos' loan, while he has also been linked with Sevilla.

    However, the latter move is not one that particularly appeals given he used to play for Sevilla's fierce rivals Real Betis.

    "I knew about Valencia's interest in having my services. There was also talk of Sevilla and Betis," he added.

    "When they connect you with these teams it is for a reason. I am very Betis and it would be difficult for me to play for Sevilla. 

    "I would only play for Betis, it is my team and the one that gave me the opportunity to be a footballer. I did not get to speak with Julen Lopetegui to sign for Sevilla."

  • Rumour Has It: Neymar, Martinez or both? Barcelona's big decision Rumour Has It: Neymar, Martinez or both? Barcelona's big decision

    Neymar, Lautaro Martinez or both? Barcelona may have a decision to make this close season.

    Neymar has been linked with a return to Camp Nou, while the LaLiga giants are also reportedly interested in Inter star Martinez.

    Barcelona could be forced to choose between the two in the next transfer window.

     

    TOP STORY – NEYMAR, MARTINEZ OR BOTH? BARCELONA'S BIG DECISION

    Barcelona want both Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and Inter's Martinez but know it will be difficult to land the duo, according to Sport.

    It reports landing Martinez is shaping to be easier as Inter are willing to accept players as part of a deal.

    Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games for Inter this season, while Neymar has netted 18 times in 22 appearances for PSG.

    ROUND-UP

    - Manchester United could be turning to an old target. ESPN reports the Premier League club are prepared to make a bid for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt if the Serie A giants are open to a sale this close season.

    - Harry Kane's future at Tottenham seemingly remains unclear. But The Daily Mail says Spurs are confident of keeping the forward, who said on Monday he would not stay at the club just "for the sake of it".

    - It looks like Jadon Sancho to Liverpool will not be happening. The Mirror claims the Premier League leaders are not targeting the Borussia Dortmund star, leaving United and Chelsea as the English clubs still in the chase.

    - Where will Philippe Coutinho end up next season? Sport reports Leicester City are interested in a loan deal for the playmaker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona. Staying at Camp Nou and Sport says Barcelona are considering a move for Layvin Kurzawa, who is out of contract at PSG at season's end, as a back-up to Jordi Alba.

    - Edinson Cavani is also out of contract at the end of the season at PSG, but CalcioMercato reports the Uruguayan striker will not be joining Atletico Madrid, the club he has been linked to.

    - With Alexis Sanchez set to return to Manchester United from his loan spell at Inter, The Sun reports the club will be forced to pay the attacker a £1.1million loyalty payment.

  • Godin likens Barca target Martinez to Suarez & Aguero Godin likens Barca target Martinez to Suarez & Aguero

    Diego Godin compared in-demand Inter team-mate Lautaro Martinez to Luis Suarez and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero amid links to Barcelona.

    Martinez has reportedly emerged as Barca's top transfer target, with the LaLiga champions keen to sign a long-term replacement for veteran forward Suarez.

    Barca's LaLiga rivals Madrid are also reportedly interested, while Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City have both been linked.

    Inter defender Godin heaped praise on 22-year-old Argentina international Martinez, who had scored 16 goals across all competitions before Serie A was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    "Lautaro is similar to Luis and Sergio Aguero," the Uruguayan centre-back told ESPN.

    "He's learning to play using his whole body, with his back to the ball. He's a football player.

    "His confidence has a high ceiling and he's maturing with every match. You can spot things in him that tell you he'll be around for 10 or 15 years."

    Martinez swapped Racing Club for Inter in 2018 and he has quickly established himself as one of the most sought-after forwards in European football.

    He has scored 25 goals in total since joining Inter from Racing Club in Argentina.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.