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'I never asked Messi to come here' - Guardiola denies Leo bid rumours

19:00 GMT+4 02/11/2018
Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola
Spanish newspaper El Mundo recently reported the Argentine was close to moving in October 2017 at the height of the Catalan political crisis

Lionel Messi was never approached to sign for Manchester City or Bayern Munich during Pep Guardiola's tenure at either club, his former boss has confirmed.

The Argentine shone under Guardiola's reign at Barcelona, picking up three La Liga titles, two Champions League winners medals and three Ballons d'Or. 

Speculation has been rife that Messi could reunite with the Catalan boss at one of his new clubs since Guardiola left Barca, but a move has never been forthcoming.

Most recently, Spanish newspaper El Mundo claimed that City were ready to trigger his €250 million (£220m/$285m) release clause in October 2017 as well as offer him the same amount again as a net wage over five years, but the City boss has now rubbished the rumours.

“When I left Barcelona and went to Bayern Munich and Manchester City, I never asked Messi to [move with me],” the Spaniard told reporters. “I never went to either club and said 'I want this player'.

“I know how important he is for Barcelona. I never made the first step to say I want this player. Never.

“I said a thousand times I want him to stay at Barcelona. I want that.”

The forward signed a new deal with Barca in November of the same year which increased his release clause to an astronomical €700 million (£615m/$800m).

After signing, Messi told Barca TV:  "For a long time we have been waiting to do the signature and today it was done. 

"I am pleased to still be connected to the club. As I always said, this is my home.

"I always wanted to end my career here. My dream was to end my career with Barcelona and we are on track."

The deal ensured he will stay at the club until 2021 and ended a long-running saga which had linked him with a move away from Spain.