Lionel Messi: Manchester City will not sign Barcelona legend, insists Pep Guardiola

Lionel Messi has spent more than 20 years at Barcelona (Nick Potts/PA)

Manchester City will not pursue Lionel Messi despite the Barcelona legend’s shock exit from the Camp Nou, Pep Guardiola has insisted.

Messi’s contract expired earlier this summer and Barcelona confirmed on Thursday evening that, despite reaching an agreement with the 34-year-old, financial constraints placed upon the club by La Liga would prevent any renewal.

“Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled,” a club statement read.

City were eager to sign Messi when he attempted to leave Barcelona last summer and reunite him with Guardiola, following their trophy-laden spell together between 2008 and 2012.

However, having completed the British record £100m signing of Jack Grealish mere hours after Barcelona’s announcement, Guardiola insists that the Etihad club will not revive their interest.

“We spend £40m on Grealish – £100m we pay and £60m we won – and he will wear No 10,” the City manager said.

“We were incredibly convinced on Grealish and convinced Messi would stay at Barcelona. Right now, it’s not in our thoughts. Absolutely not.”

With Guardiola insistent that City will not move for Messi, Paris Saint-Germain appear to lead the race to sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

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