Dubai: Former coach Pep Guardiola is convinced that star Lionel Messi will end his playing days at Barcelona.
Guardiola, who managed Messi from 2008 to 2012, was quoted by BBC that the Argentinean superstar would not part ways with the club that has been responsible for his rise to fame.
Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi – now 32 - relocated to Spain to join Barcelona when 13, and made his competitive debut in October 2004, aged 17.
Messi has spent his career with Barca, but has a clause allowing him to leave for free this summer.
Guardiola coached Messi at the Nou Camp between 2008 and 2012, winning three La Ligas and two Champions Leagues.
“He will stay there [at Barca] and that’s my wish,” the Manchester City coach was quoted.
Guardiola left Barca for Bayern Munich [between 2013 and 2016] while becoming their most successful manager, with 14 trophies in four seasons.
Guardiola has won the English Premier League for the last two seasons with City, but the defending champions currently trail Liverpool by 22 points with only 13 games remaining.
Messi, who has won the Ballon d’Or player award for a record six times, ten La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues, is under contract until 2021.
However, all has not been well as Messi spoke out earlier this week against Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal after the Frenchman accused players of not working hard under former coach Ernesto Valverde.
“I’m not going to talk about players for other clubs. I think he [Messi] will finish his career there [Barcelona],” Guardiola insisted.