New Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has ruled out launching an audacious multi-million pound bid for Barcelona forward Lionel Messi after being officially unveiled as the club’s manager.
The Spaniard conducted a question and answer session at the Etihad Stadium, having arrived at City on the back of three seasons with Bayern Munich during which he delivered the Bundesliga title in each campaign.
Guardiola’s stint in Bavaria followed a spell of unprecedented success with Barcelona, where he won 14 trophies in four years, although the 45-year-old admitted a move for Messi was not on his agenda.
“He’s not a bad player, this guy. But I’m sorry, Messi has to stay at Barcelona for the rest of his career,” said Guardiola.
The former Barcelona, Roma and Brescia midfielder, meanwhile, delivered an unequivocal message to his players that he is unwilling to accept passive performances, saying he would “hug [them] and kick their arse”.
Guardiola was more than happy to lay down the gauntlet to his charges as they bid to wrestle back the Premier League title which they surrendered to Leicester City last season, especially during a campaign which promises to be ultra-competitive.
“The first target is team spirit and play good. I know the players, I’ve played against them many, many times. I know their quality but they have to show me and their fans,” added Guardiola.
“The past is the past. We are here to try again. My tactic is to develop the players. People don’t come to the Etihad to see how good the manager is – they come for the players.”
“We have Jose [Mourinho], [Jurgen] Klopp, [Antonio] Conte, [Mauricio] Pochettino, [Ronald] Koeman. But we are just here to help. I don’t want the players to think what the club can do for them. We want a better club over the next four, five, six years.”