Lionel Messi lauds 'special' Pep Guardiola as speculation over Manchester City move reignites

Argentine star has grown disenchanted at Barcelona after unsuccessful attempt to leave club

Lionel Messi said he counts himself lucky to have worked under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and that the Spaniard brings "something special" to coaching; comments that are likely to fuel speculation the pair could reunite at Manchester City.

Messi was the pillar of Guardiola's Barca side that won 14 major titles and has been linked with a switch to City since the manager signed a new deal that will keep him at the Premier League club until the end of the 2022-23 season.

The Argentine player is into the final few months of his current contract in Spain having unsuccessfully tried to leave Barca during the close season.

"Pep has something special," Messi told Spanish channel La Sexta.

"He makes you see things in one way: how he prepares for matches, defensively, how to attack ... he told you exactly how the match was going to be, how you had to attack to win.

"I was lucky ... to train under Guardiola and Luis Enrique, the two best. Having them made me grow a lot physically and mentally, and also the tactical wisdom they've taught me."

Guardiola said last month that he is unsure what the future holds for Messi but hopes that, as a Barcelona fan, he will remain at the La Liga club until the end of his career.

"Leo Messi is a player for Barcelona and if you're asking me for my opinion, I am a person who has a huge gratitude to Barcelona for what they did for me as a player, they gave me absolutely everything, from the start, from my time in the academy," Guardiola said.

"So I want him to finish his career there. That is what I want. As a Barcelona fan, I would like for Leo to finish there. But this year he finishes his contract and after that, we don't know what will happen and what is in his mind.

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21 transfers on the cards in January 2021