Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has poured cold water on the idea of a reunion with Lionel Messi.
Asked about signing Messi, Guardiola told a press conference: “Right now, (it’s not in our thoughts, not at all).”
Barcelona announced on Thursday that Messi would no longer be with the club. Team president Joan Laporta on Friday blamed the club’s previous administration for the dire financial situation, which prevented it from fitting Messi’s proposed new contract within the Spanish league’s fair play rules.
Guardiola – who is more interested in Tottenham striker Harry Kane – was coach at Barcelona from 2008-12 and he and Messi won two Champions League titles and other trophies.
But he said he had not spoken to Messi.
“In the end it was a surprise to everyone, of course I was included,” Guardiola said. “President, Laporta, the reasons were clear today. I haven’t spoken to the player or the president, so I don’t know what happened.
Although City, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi royal family, will be one of the few clubs with the financial resources to sign the 34-year-old Messi, it also broke a British transfer fee record on Thursday by signing Jack Grealish. 100 million pounds ($139 million).
“I would love for him to finish (in Barcelona),” Guardiola said. “Of course, I wish him the very best for the final years of his career. He will not be forgotten, that’s for sure.