Dubai: Barcelona’s wantaway superstar Lionel Messi has reignited a potential move to Manchester City in the summer by heaping praise on his former boss and present incumbent in the Etihad hotseat Pep Guardiola.
The current Barca skipper — who requested a transfer after he grew disillusioned at the way Barcelona is being ran — said he was “lucky” to have played under Guardiola, when the Spaniard was the coach at Camp Nou.
“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,” Messi told Spanish television channel La Sexta. “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.”
Messi was a mainstay in Guardiola and Enrique’s Barcelona teams that won the Champions League. The team that Guardiola led at the Camp Nou, considered one of the greatest of all time in the history of world football, saw Messi team up with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta and won 14 major titles in five years.
Under Enrique, Messi was part of a lethal front three with Luis Suarez and Neymar and led Barca to the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League in the 2014/15 season.
Messi has been linked with a move to Manchester City, where he would be reunited with Guardiola, since he expressed a desire to leave Barcelona in the summer.
To add fuel to the fire - as if it were needed - Messi missed Barcelona's return to training on Monday after being granted permission by the club to stay in Argentina, and he will also be absent from Tuesday's La Liga match at home to Eibar.
Barca said on Twitter that Mess would return to training after the Eibar game, meaning he will be back for their visit to Huesca on January 3The Argentine returned to his home city of Rosario via private jet immediately after scoring in his side's 3-0 win away to Real Valladolid on December 22.
The Catalan club did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Messi's absence, although Spanish media reports said it was to give the captain more time to rest in what has been a challenging season for their all-time top scorer.