Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola distances himself from a move for Lionel Messi

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has predicted that Lionel Messi will end his career at Barcelona.

Debate surrounding Messi’s immediate future has swirled this week after a public fallout with technical secretary Eric Abidal.

The 32-year-old’s contract enables him to depart the Nou Camp on a free transfer at the end of this season.

City officials have always felt they would be in pole position to land Messi if he were ever to leave Barcelona but Guardiola distanced them from making a move.

‘It’s a player from Barcelona, he will stay there. That is my wish for him. Stay in Barcelona,’ Guardiola said.

‘I am not going to talk about a player from another club. I think he is going to finish his career in Barcelona.’

Messi’s wages, in the region of £1million a week, would prove a significant stumbling block for any Premier League hoping to sign the Argentinian.

And Guardiola claimed he hopes his former striker decides to remain in Catalonia, adding: ‘He’s a player for Barcelona. My wish is that he stays there.’

City are 22 points behind leaders Liverpool and head into Sunday’s game against West Ham without forward Raheem Sterling after he picked up a hamstring injury last week.

Sterling is hopeful of making himself available following the winter break and was taken off at Tottenham as a preventative measure.

Guardiola suggested that this weekend will come too soon for Leroy Sane, who has spent the past few weeks in first-team training.

‘He’s still not… if you have an injury for six months it’s not that you train for a week and you’re right there,’ the City boss added.

‘It needs time. It’s not training and immediately being there. It’s not like an ankle or muscular, a knee injury needs time.

‘He needs weeks. The surgery was perfect and he’s recovering very well. Hopefully he’ll come back stronger.’

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