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Friday 28 July 2017

Pep Guardiola 'asked about signing Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar'

Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with his teammates Luis Suarez, right, and Neymar during the rout of Celtic
Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with his teammates Luis Suarez, right, and Neymar during the rout of Celtic

Manchester City spent £170m on new signings this summer but Pep Guardiola could have parted with even more money if moves for Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar came to fruition.

Guardiola has issued his side with a stark warning that they must abide by his rules at the Etihad this season and, according to The Sun, he planned on cementing his authority with the purchases of Barca's two biggest stars.

But the Catalan was unable to persuade the duo to leave the La Liga champions, despite three conversations between the relevant parties, meaning he must go through with his promise to win the Premier League without their services.

Sheikh Mansour, the City owner, has reportedly pledged to continue bankrolling Guardiola's revolution next season on the condition that Guardiola keeps City challenging for major honours both at home and abroad.

Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta, when asked in July if Messi could leave for City in future, appeared to suggest a rift had formed between the Argentina forward and the club after his tax fraud case this summer.

Laporta told Catalunya Radio: “There are certain powers who want Messi to no longer be a Barca player.

“The club has let the player down, the best player in history, the best player in the world. We have a president and board that didn’t accompany him when he had to testify in court.”

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