Manchester City are determined to reunite Lionel Messi with Pep Guardiola after tying their boss down to a new deal until 2023.
City will turn their attention to landing Messi and teaming him up with his former Barcelona boss Guardiola as their dream team to land the club’s first Champions League crown.
Messi, out of contract next summer, is ready to leave Barca and City could even move for him as early as January, although a move for him as a free agent next year seems the likeliest scenario.
Argentina superstar Messi tried to leave Barca in the summer, but stayed to avoid a legal dispute with the club he has served throughout his glittering career, but he is set to leave at the end of this season.
City are determined to land the 33-year-old and believe the addition of arguably the greatest player of all time can be the final piece in the jigsaw to take them to Champions League glory.
Guardiola has committed to a further two years at City to try to deliver the Champions League, a competition he twice won with Messi at Barca, but has failed to win at subsequent clubs Bayern Munich and City.
Guardiola’s new deal, worth an estimated £20million-a-year, will eventually take his stay at City to seven years, putting him second on the list of the club’s longest-serving post-war managers.
“Ever since I arrived at Manchester City, I’ve been made to feel so welcome in the club and in the city itself,” said Guardiola.
“Since then we’ve achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we’re all very proud of that success.
“Having that kind of support is the best thing any manager can have.
“The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving, and I am very excited and about helping Manchester City do that.”
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City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “It is testament to the qualities of the man that Pep’s passion and intelligent approach are now woven into the very fabric of the football we play and our culture as club.
“That impact has been central to our success during his tenure and it’s why I’m delighted that he shares our view that there is so much more to be achieved both on and off the field.
“Pep’s contract extension is the natural next step in a journey which has evolved over many years.”