Lionel Messi reportedly asked to join Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City
Spanish journalist Martí Perarnau’s book ‘God Save Pep’ claims that the Argentine proposed the move after Barcelona’s 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in 2020.
A newly released on Pep Guardiola book makes the sensational claim that Lionel Messi floated the idea of joining Manchester City in 2020.
That summer Barcelona were beaten 8-2 by Bayern Munich in a chastening Champions League defeat. In the aftermath of that embarrassment Messi sent the now-infamous burofax to the club, signalling his desire to leave Camp Nou.
Messi was prevented from leaving that summer and would go on to play one further season with Barcelona. But a new book from Spanish journalist Martí Perarnau claims that Messi had broached the possibility of joining Manchester City in 2020, even meeting with former boss Pep Guardiola to discuss the move.
The book, ‘God Save Pep’, reveals that Messi travelled to Guardiola’s house to make the proposal, saying that he “felt uncomfortable” at Barça. Messi expressed his discontent with then-club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the rest of the Barça board, saying that he felt “deceived and betrayed” by their actions.
Pep Guardiola interested in Messi’s City proposal
The book adds that Guardiola was interested in taking Messi from Barcelona, the club where both men had risen to the very top of the game. But Messi was still contracted to the Catalan club and the status of the burofax request was still being contested by player and club.
Guardiola reportedly promised to bring Messi to the Etihad Stadium if his Barcelona exit could be secured. However the club dismissed Messi’s claims that the burofax request allowed him to leave the club. At that point, in the summer of 2020, Messi still had one year left on his contract and a release clause set at €750 million.
After his burofax request was denied, Messi was tied to the club for the final year of his Barcelona contract and would go on to leave for Paris Saint-Germain the following year.
Perarnau’s book follows Guardiola’s seven years in charge of Manchester City. In it the three-time Champions League winner details a difficult first year in England, which forced him to “question his worth as a coach”. Under Guardiola Man City have gone won five Premier League titles and the Champions League, the one prize that had always eluded them.
Perarnau describes Guardiola as “the Johan Cruyff of Manchester City”.