Football

Pep Guardiola has something special, says Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi counts himself "lucky" to have worked under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012.

The Argentinian says the Spaniard brings "something special" to coaching - comments that are likely to fuel speculation that the pair could reunite at Manchester City.

Messi was a mainstay of Guardiola's Barca side that won 14 major titles.

He has been linked with a switch to City, since the manager signed a new deal that will keep him at the English Premier League club until the end of the 2022-23 season.

Messi, 33, is into the final few months of his current contract in Spain, having unsuccessfully tried to leave Barcelona during the close season.

"Pep has something special," Messi told Spanish television channel La Sexta. "He makes you see things in one way: how he prepares for matches, defensively, how to attack ...

"He told you exactly how the match was going to be, how you had to attack to win.

"I was lucky... to train under Guardiola and Luis Enrique, the two best. Having them made me grow a lot physically and mentally, and also the tactical wisdom they've taught me."

Barcelona said yesterday that Messi has been granted permission for an extended break in Argentina. He will miss their next match against Eibar on Wednesday morning (Singapore time), but will return to training by Sunday. - REUTERS

Football