Lionel Messi rejected 'huge' deal from Premier League club before extending contract

Lionel Messi
GETTY Lionel Messi signed a new Barcelona deal last month
Author

08 December, 2017

Messi himself has been out of the side in recent weeks after starting Barcelona's last two Champions League matches on the bench.

Spanish newspaper Marca reported that City owner Sheikh Mansour had personally made the offer, which also contained a £44m-a-year salary, and bypassed intermediaries.

But Messi had no interest in moving and last month signed a new contract worth £500,000-a-week, keeping him at the Nou Camp until 2021.

Asked about the speculation of City's offer to Messi, Guardiola said: "That's not true".

His previous deal was due to expire in the summer, meaning he would have been free to speak to potential suitors in the new year. He wants to finish his career with Barcelona.

"If he wanted to leave, he would not have signed a new contract".

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Kevin De Bruyne is suspended and youngster Phil Foden included, with Guardiola saying: "He has the same chance to play".

Lionel Messi has defended Gonzalo Higuain, claiming the Juventus striker is one of the best in the world and deserves to be in the Argentina squad. The way we are playing now we will not get even close.

Midfielder Yaya Toure could also start, with Guardiola likely to make a number of changes from the side that beat West Ham on Sunday to extend their club-record winning streak to 20 games.

And while your dad might go spare at the sums Messi will be raking in and demand that soldiers are paid the same or whatever, it's hard to argue with Barcelona going to such lengths to retaining their greatest player of all time, who has led them to enough trophies over the past decade to fill an entire wing of a museum. We are full of confidence. We haven't had that many games with him, either.

"Shakhtar have a attractive team, a great squad, a great coach".


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