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Football Whispers

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: 'Never will I go back to Barcelona'

MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola has ruled out a reunion with Lionel Messi at either Manchester City or Barcelona.

The Argentine star wants Guardiola to return to the Nou Camp following Barca's embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Paris St-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday, according to reports, with pressure growing on current coach Luis Enrique.

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Meanwhile, Messi is still to sign a new contract at Barca, with his current deal running out at the end of next season, although talks are going "really well," according to the club's sporting director Robert Fernandez.

Guardiola insists the 29-year-old will finish his career with Barca and says he has no intention of returning to the club for which he played and managed.

"I said many times about Messi, my desire -- and that is going to happen -- is that he will finish his career at Barcelona," he told a news conference ahead of City's FA Cup tie with Huddersfield Town on Saturday. "And that is what I want, him to finish playing there.

"No, never will I go back to Barcelona to be the coach there. My period there is gone."

Lionel Messi reportedly wants Pep Guardiola to return to the Camp Nou.

Guardiola said he was shocked by Barca's defeat against PSG, which could see the Catalan club fail to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in 10 years.

No side has ever come back from four goals behind to win a Champions League tie but Guardiola says that if any team can do it, it is Barca.

"Barcelona are still the best team in the world, it's always a surprise because they are so, so good, but in football anything can happen," he said.

"There's a lot of competition, the opposition are so strong. You can win heavily or you can lose heavily, that can happen, it's happened to me, but there are 90 minutes to go and anything can happen.

"If there's a team who can do it it's Barca. With their mentality ... it's normal that there are so many things said because they are a team that has dominated world football for 10 years and when you have dominated world football it's normal that the people expect you to keep up that level.

"But my advice, knowing Luis and the players a little, is not to talk too much, because they will be back and prove you wrong.

"They've done it over the years, dominating football for 10 years, and they continue to be the best team in the world."

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.


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