Barcelona star Lionel Messi will retire at the club, according to his former Coach and current Manchester City boss Pep Guadiola.
The Argentine star has a clause in his current contract at the Camp Nou – which is the most lucrative in global football – which allows him to leave on a free transfer at the end of each season, should he wish to do so.
That has sparked alarm in the Catalan capital following the 32-year-old’s comments on Instagram, where he was heavily critical of the club’s sporting director Eric Abidal.
The former defender had claimed that a number of Barca players had to take a look at themselves for not trying hard enough, with Messi then hitting straight back and challenging the Frenchman to name names.
Messi has subsequently been linked to a number of top European clubs, with City chief among them due to their financial and sporting firepower along with the influence of Guardiola.
“He's a player for Barcelona, he will stay there,” Guardiola told a news conference.
“That is my wish, [for him] to stay in Barcelona. I'm not going to talk about players from another club.
“I think he's going to finish his career there.”
Guardiola coached Messi for the first six years of his managerial career.