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Mar 7, 2014

Pellegrini: Messi to City is just rumours

MANCHESTER -- Manuel Pellegrini has shrugged off speculation linking Manchester City with a summer bid for Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Joe Hart screams in frustration after Lionel Messi beat him from 12 yards.
Lionel Messi scored the opener in Barcelona's 2-0 Champions League win at Manchester City.

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Reports in Spain suggested that the Capital One Cup winners will make a huge offer for Los Blaugranas' record scorer, but Pellegrini downplayed such talk as "just rumours" when asked about a possible transfer.

City will face four-time World Player of the Year Messi at the Nou Camp on Wednesday, and knows of his talents all too well after the Argentina international scored the opening goal for Barca in their 2-0 Champions League win at the Etihad two weeks ago.

Pellegrini -- who has continued to insist that a penalty should not have been awarded for Martin Demichelis’ challenge on Messi -- received a two-match touchline ban from Uefa for his post-match complaints about referee Jonas Eriksson, with a further game suspended.

The City manager backtracked from his original criticisms when he said that Eriksson was not biased or unfit to referee the game because he normally officiates in the Swedish league, but it did not stop UEFA taking action against him and he will watch the second leg from the stands.

"I don’t think I deserve three games or two games," he said. "I said two days after [the Barcelona game] in my press conference that I was wrong in the way I did but I continue to say it was not a penalty and that it decided the game."

However, he has accepted the sanction, explaining: "I don’t want to continue [to fight it] and if they decide that is the punishment for me, I will see what I am going to do in future."

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