BARCELONA

Guardiola advised Messi to stay at Barcelona

According to 'Mundo Deportivo' the Manchester City manager would only be willing to sign Messi on a free transfer as to comply with Financial Fair Play rules.

Guardiola advised Messi to stay at Barcelona

According to reports in today's Mundo Deportivo by Sergi Solé, Pep Guardiola has told Leo Messi about what he would do if he were in a similar situation. The Manchester City manager recommended that Messi sees out the remaining year of his contract at Barça as financially, it would be very difficult to bring him to the Etihad. In the same report, Mundo Deportivo also back up claims in the UK press that Manchester City cannot possibly envisage signing Messi unless he joins on a free transfer. City, who were only recently let off a two-year ban from taking part in the Champions League, are keen to avoid any more Financial Fair Play problems - even though UEFA will be relaxing some of the measures to help fluid trading in the transfer markets.

Man City caught off-guard by Messi's decision to quit Barcelona

Manchester City would love to sign Messi but the player's request to leave took them by surprise and the club had already began several other transfer operations to strengthen the squad. After the initial euphoria among City fans at the prospect of Messi joining, the the mood is now much less ecstatic. City have decided to remain silent until details of tomorrow's meeting between Jorge Messi and Josep Maria Bartomeu emerge to get a clearer idea of the situation.