Pep Guardiola, Inter Chairman Address Rumors, Botched Exit
After being heavily linked to Lionel Messi prior to his botched Barcelona exit, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Inter Milan chairman Steven Zhang have addressed the transfer talks and rumors involving their clubs and the Barca superstar.
During the offseason, Messi came close to officially leaving Camp Nou after almost two decades with Barcelona. One of the few clubs capable of signing the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was Man City, where he could have reunited with his former mentor, Guardiola.
However, due to the complications of Messi’s contract with Barca, the 33-year-old opted to stay to avoid legal problems. Heading into the 2020-21 Premier League season, Guardiola was asked about his thoughts on the botched transfer.
According to the renowned coach, there is nothing to talk about at this point as Messi had already made things clear when he announced this decision to stay earlier this month, Goal reported.
“I don’t need to explain anything. Leo explained it quite well I think and I don’t have anything to add,” Guardiola told reporters ahead of City’s first game of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, Sept. 21. “We don’t have anything more to add. He is a football player for FC Barcelona – the club I love.”
As for the possibility of Messi heading to City once his contract with Barca expires next year, Guardiola said only the Argentine superstar can answer this question. The coach, however, emphasized that he is “lucky” to have the squad he has right now.
“I don’t know, it’s a question for Leo Messi,” he said. “I cannot talk about the intentions for other people.”
“What’s going to happen is going to happen, if we stay with the players we have we will be happy,” Guardiola continued. “Never before and never in the future am I going to complain. I am a lucky person to have these players and to be at this club.”
Along with Man City, Serie A club Inter Milan was also touted as Messi’s possible destination during the offseason. The Italian side was a strong candidate for Messi’s signature, with only City believed to be ahead of them in the race.
However, Inter chairman Zhang has insisted that signing Messi was never in the club’s plans. He clarified that contrary to reports, Inter doesn’t have the financial power to land Messi and never considered signing the Barcelona captain this summer.
“Such an investment cannot be part of our project. At least not right now,” Zhang recently told Corriere della Sera of the Messi transfer talks. “Innovation, planning, constant growth, economic stability are our cornerstones.”