LIONEL MESSI

Guardiola: I expect Messi to finish his career at Barcelona

Lionel Messi has again been linked with Manchester City after a turbulent week at Barcelona, but Pep Guardiola expects the player to stay.

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Guardiola dismisses Messi links

Pep Guardiola has again insisted he does not want Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona despite speculation he could join Manchester City at the end of the season.

Messi embroiled in row with Barcelona director Abidal in rocky week for LaLiga club

A turbulent week at Camp Nou on and off the pitch has seen Messi's future come under scrutiny.

The club captain called out first-team technical secretary Éric Abidal on social media after the former Barça defender suggested some players had downed tools during Ernesto Valverde's final weeks as head coach.

Messi's response, in which he accused Abidal of "dirtying" the squad and urged him to name names in his criticism, has led to talk that he could utilise his option to have his contract cancelled at the end of 2019-20 and walk away from Barça for free.

Thursday's Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Athletic Bilbao has only heightened the uncertainty around Messi's future, with City reportedly monitoring the situation with a view to making him an offer.

"He will stay there. That is my wish"  - Guardiola on Messi's Barcelona future

Guardiola has always previously maintained he would not bring Messi to Etihad Stadium, though, and the former Barça boss made it clear again on Friday that he expects the 32-year-old to finish his career at Camp Nou.

"Messi is a player for Barcelona," Guardiola told reporters ahead of Sunday's Premier League game against West Ham. 

"He will stay there. That is my wish. I am not going to talk about players at another club. I think he will finish his career there."