Guardiola probed about failed Messi approach; says his commitment remains

Date published: Friday 18th September 2020 2:55

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Pep Guardiola was asked about Manchester City’s failed pursuit of Lionel Messi at his press conference on Friday.

City were heavily linked with Messi recently but a move for the six-time world player of the year did not materialise as the Argentinian opted to stay with Barcelona.

It looked at one stage as though City were in pole position for the superstar when it emerged he was calling time on his Barca career.

But just days after City were given encouragement, it was announced that Messi would be staying to play at the Camp Nou this season.

It proved to be a false dawn for City, but Guardiola was not willing to discuss how seriously City entertained the idea of signing Messi.

The former Barcelona boss said: “I think I don’t have to explain anything. Leo explained quite well his feelings and I don’t have have anything to add.

“He is a football player for Barcelona, the club I love.”

Guardiola is now in the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium, but he says the uncertainty over his future will not affect how he operates in the coming season.

He said: “It is the same. I am in the same position. I come in to work every day harder and better than the previous seasons, and to do the best football as possible to win games and make people proud of our team. That is my job.”

 

 

Meanwhile, Guardiola said midfielder Phil Foden had responded well since returning to the club following his recent problems while on international duty.Foden, 20, was sent home by England manager Gareth Southgate earlier this month after a disciplinary issue in Iceland.Guardiola said: “He is well, (from) the time I saw him in these three or four days we were together. He knows he made a mistake and that is all.”

Aguero missing

Sergio Aguero has been ruled out of City’s season-opening Premier League clash at Wolves on Monday.

City’s record goalscorer missed the end of last season after knee surgery and is not yet back in full training.

Guardiola said: “He still did not make one training session with us.”

Defender Aymeric Laporte is also unlikely to feature at Molineux after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this month.Laporte was one of two players City reported had tested positive for coronavirus along with Riyad Mahrez.

Guardiola said: “Riyad came back three or four days ago. He is training but today was the first day that Aymeric Laporte came back to us. So I think Riyad will be available but Laporte not yet.”

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