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 By Ben Gladwell

Lionel Messi likes English, Italian football but wants Barcelona stay

ESPN FC's Craig Burley and Dan Thomas discuss the possibility of Lionel Messi joining Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein explains the latest rumour linking Lionel Messi to Manchester City.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has expressed his admiration for English and Italian football but said he remains intent on finishing his top-level career at the Camp Nou.

Argentina international Messi, 28, has repeatedly said he intends to play out his European career at Barca before returning to his homeland to play for Newell's Old Boys.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner said there remains an outside chance he could play in the Premier League or Serie A at some stage but told Egyptian TV channel MBC that he has no plans to leave La Liga for the foreseeable future.

"I like English and Italian football," he said. "I watch all the big games but, like I've said, my intention is to continue playing for many more years with Barcelona and to retire here.

"I hope it works out that way and that I'm not forced to change my mind. You can never tell in football. Things can change from one day to the next."

Manchester City are reported to believe they are at the front of the queue to sign Messi if he did leave Barcelona given the impending arrival of Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium. 

Inter Milan president Erick Thohir has also frequently flirted with the idea of signing Messi, and revealed that the forward once told compatriot Juan Sebastian Veron of his desire to play for the Nerazzurri, but any deal would be difficult for Serie A clubs financially.

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