Lionel Messi was one of the topics addressed by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon ahead of the trip to play Tottenham Hotspur this week. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will renew their rivalry when Spurs and Manchester City meet at the new Spurs Stadium in North London on Saturday night.

Ahead of the Spurs game, Pep Guardiola was asked about the transfer rumours linkingMessi with the club ahead of next summer. The Barcelona skipper has less than one year to go on his contract with the Spanish La Liga outfit. Messi can start to speak with other clubs as from the start of next year about a free transfer move when his present Barcelona deal expires at the end of this campaign.

On Messi, Guardiola told reporters that he wants him to stay at Barcelona for the rest of his career. He also said that he’s a Barcelona fan and that the club has given him much as a player and as a manager. As a Barcelona fan, Guardiola wants Messi to stay beyond his contract next summer.

Messi could have been playing for another club after he submitted a transfer request in the summer,but the request was blocked by the Barcelona board under former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The club was reluctant to let him leave for free with Bartomeu and his board members insisting that Messi won’t leave unless his release clause is paid. The 33-year-old has a €700m release clause in his Barcelona contract.

Messi was linked with both Manchester City and Italian giants Inter Milan back then in the summer and both clubs are expected to be in the conversation as long as the player’s long-term future at the Nou Camp continues to be in doubt.