Published On: Tue, Dec 5th, 2017

Guardiola: Manchester City didn't approach Messi with €100M signing bonus

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Pep Guardiola refuted reports that Manchester City tried to tempt Lionel Messi to join the club next summer with a €100-million (£88-million) signing-on fee.

Under the terms of his previous Barcelona deal, Messi would have been available on a free transfer after the 2017-18 season. Spanish newspaper Marca reported the approach was made personally by City’s seldom-seen owner Sheikh Mansour, and included an annual salary of approximately €50 million (£44 million). Mansour apparently bypassed communicating with Barcelona when tabling this offer.

City’s hopes of signing Messi were quashed, however, when he signed a new Barcelona contract until 2021 in late-November – around four months after he was originally scheduled to do so.

Related: Messi finally signs new Barcelona deal until 2021

“No, it’s not true,” Guardiola told ESPN FC’s Jonathan Smith at Tuesday’s press conference when asked about Marca’s account.

“Lionel Messi signed a contract a week ago, it was never going to happen. Lionel Messi started his career at Barcelona and he is going to finish it there.

“If he wanted to leave, he would not have signed a new contract.”

The delay in Messi inking terms unsurprisingly sparked rumours that he would seek greener pastures. However, after the season began under a cloud following Neymar‘s world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and the comprehensive two-legged Supercopa de Espana defeat to Real Madrid, a Messi-inspired Barcelona holds a five-point cushion atop La Liga. Advancement into the Champions League Round of 16 was also confirmed last month.

While Messi and Barcelona seem irrevocably tied once more, Manchester City hasn’t been lacking in its own attacking potency this season. Guardiola’s side is eight points clear at the Premier League’s summit – scoring 46 goals in 15 matches – and beat Napoli twice to secure an early route from Champions League Group F.



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