Guardiola slams rumours ahead of Barcelona - Manchester City
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, returning to Barcelona for the Champions League match against Barça, gave his pre-game press conference.
Guardiola pre-match press conference
Pep Guardiola gave his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday's big Champions League Group C match that sees Manchester City play Barcelona at the Camp Nou. This is the second time Guardiola has returned to play Barcelona since he left the club after an incredible coaching spell there.
Manchester City need the points against Barcelona
Guardiola admitted that City "need the points and we're obliged [to go for them] after dropping two points" against Celtic, in a thrilling 3-3 game at Celtic Park on matchday 2.
Guardiola said he was still getting to know his players, because they've only been together "for a short period of time", but he said he wouldn't change his style, no matter what, because if he did, his players wouldn't believe him. "We have to believe in ourselves", said the Manchester City coach.
Guardiola: "I did not try to sign Messi"
The tensest moment of the press conference came when Guardiola was asked whether he had attempted to sign Barcelona players this past summer, allegations of which led to severe criticism in the pro-Barcelona press.
Pep took the opportunity to set the record straight, something he did with barely contained emotion - he is clearly highly annoyed by the claims.
"I never called any player. There are battles that are already lost. It would be good to compare the versions [of the story]. I called Thiago, because his agent is my brother, and he told me he wanted to come to Bayern because he wasn't playing much at Barcelona. Three years ago I called Neymar to try and sign him. When there were doubts and Madrid were involved, I called him to try and sign him for Bayern. But when he spoke to me about Barcelona, I told him not to think twice, to go to Barça.
I've never called Messi, nor Busquets, nor Suárez, nor Iniesta. I knew Ter Stegen wanted to play and I called him, but he decided to stay at Barça. If I call a player it's because I know he's not playing for his team. And I'd have the right to call any player, because Barcelona also call City players. Hopefully Messi finishes his career here [at Barcelona], but maybe he'll want to go elsewhere. Hopefully it doesn't happen. But if it does, various clubs will want to sign him, but it'll be Messi who decides. I never called anyone at Barcelona this summer, I'm sorry. And the people who published that I did, can call Bartomeu, I know they have good relations with him, so they can ask him".
Guardiola coming back to the Camp Nou
As to coming home Pep waxed lyrical about his former club: "This stadium is part of my life, I grew up as a footballer here. It will always be special. It's a great test to be able to play against the best side".
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