Guardiola wants Man City target Messi to stay at Barcelona

Pep Guardiola has played down Manchester City's chances of signing Lionel Messi and said he wants the forward to stay at Barcelona.

Messi has been involved in the public spat with the Spanish giants and sources have told ESPN that City would be interested if he decides to leave Camp Nou.

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But Guardiola, who worked with Messi for four years in Spain, said he wants the Argentina star, 32, to stay where he is.

"He is a player from Barcelona and he will stay there, that's my wish for him to stay in Barcelona," Guardiola said at a news conference on Friday.

Thanks"I'm not going to talk about players for other clubs. I think he will finish his career there, that's my wish."

City face West Ham on Sunday looking to bounce back following the defeat to Tottenham but will line up against David Moyes' side without Raheem Sterling.

The England winger limped off against Spurs with a hamstring problem and Guardiola has said the 25-year-old is facing a battle to be fit for the Champions League round-of-16 first leg against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Feb. 26.

"It's a hamstring injury and we will see," Guardiola said. "Of course it takes weeks but we'll see before Leicester [on Feb. 22], Madrid and the rest of the games.

"I don't know right now. It's a problem, but it's a problem we had with [Ilkay] Gundogan out for six months in the first year, and [Aymeric] Laporte this season for four or five months.

"It's always a problem. But it is what it is. During the season it's happened this kind of thing unfortunately especially for the players."