Johannesburg [South Africa]: Ending months of speculations, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has insisted that he never tried to sign Barcelona star strikers Lionel Messi and Neymar in the close season.
The reports had further suggested that the former Barcelona manager also attempted to sign forward Luis Saurez and midfielder pair of Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.
“I didn’t call Messi, nor Busquets, nor Suarez, nor Iniesta. I knew (keeper) Ter Stegen wanted to play more and I called him but he decided to stay at Barca,” Guardiola was quoted as saying by Sport24.
The 45-year-old, however, said if the Argentine international ever decides to leave the Camp Nou then he would be among those waiting in the queue for him.
“I hope Messi finishes his career here but perhaps one day he wants to leave. If it happens, various clubs will want to sign him,” said City manager of the five-time World Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, the Spaniard coach also confirmed that he had turned down the opportunity to buy Brazil’s Neymar in 2013.
“I called him to try to sign him for Bayern. But when Neymar’s dad told me about Barca I told him to have no doubts and to go to Barca,” he added.
Guardiola might have quashed the reports of signing Barcelona players at the moment, but he insisted that he has the right to call players regarding the probable move.
“If I call a player it’s perhaps because he is not playing much at the moment. And I also have the right to call them because Barca also call City players,” he insisted.
Guardiola’s comments came on the eve of Champions League Group C clash against Barca to be played at Camp Nou. (ANI)