Unveiling a Historic Conversation in August 2020
In the tumultuous aftermath of Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich and amidst the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic, a seismic moment in football history unfolded as Lionel Messi initiated a pivotal dialogue with Pep Guardiola.
The individual behind these fresh insights, Marti Perarnau, has enjoyed unparalleled access to Guardiola in the past. In his 2014 publication, “Pep Confidential,” Perarnau delved into Guardiola’s world, spending an entire season shadowing the manager during his tenure at Bayern Munich.
This revelation, chronicled in journalist Marti Perarnau’s book, “God Save Pep,” sheds light on the events that transpired in August 2020, weeks before the infamous burofax broke out.
The Initiation of Contact: Lionel Messi’s Text to Guardiola through Agüero
Expressing discontent with the Barcelona board, Messi took the initiative to reach out to Guardiola through a text message. Serving as the intermediary, fellow player Sergio Agüero, who was then with Manchester City, facilitated the initial talks between Messi and the English club.
Pep Guardiola’s Willingness: A Desire to Break Free
Guardiola, still grappling with the situation, received a direct message from Messi expressing a strong desire to join Manchester City. This revelation prompted a dialogue between the two, unraveling Messi’s grievances with Josep Maria Bartomeu, the president of Barcelona at the time, and the demanding nature of football at City.
Messi texted, “Hello, Pep. How are you?“
Guardiola’s Warning and Messi’s Determination
“In Manchester we train very hard…” Guardiola messaged Messi.
Leo – “I will train hard, I’m not worried,” Messi replied.
Leo – “I’ll put up with whatever you do.”
Pep – “And I continued making long tactical talks. Maybe you’ll get bored… ”
Leo – “I’ll hold on. I will put up with everything you do.“
Pep – “Leo, we have grown older. Maybe we can’t stand each other anymore.”
Leo – “Pep, I just want to kill it.”
As City faced a Champions League exit, Guardiola and Messi met in Barcelona to discuss the challenges that lay ahead. Guardiola, in a bid to provide a glimpse of what awaited Messi, warned about the rainy weather in Manchester. However, Messi, undeterred, expressed his unwavering determination to endure and adapt, emphasizing the evolved maturity of their relationship.
Nostalgia for Success: Recalling the Glory Days at Barcelona
The narrative delves into the monumental success of Guardiola and Messi’s partnership at Barcelona between 2008 and 2011. Together, they secured three La Liga titles, two Champions League titles, three Spanish Super Cups, two Club World Cups, two King’s Cups, and two European Super Cups, leaving an indelible mark on the history of football.
The Twist in the Tale: Messi’s Unexpected Move to PSG
In the end, the discussion turned out to be purely theoretical, as Messi found himself unable to legally terminate his contract due to making the request after the specified deadline. Barcelona remained steadfast in upholding the player’s €700m (£605m/$767m) release clause.
Despite the closeness of a potential reunion, Messi’s journey took an unexpected turn. He remained at Barcelona until the summer of 2021, ultimately departing for Paris Saint-Germain. The narrative explores the reasons behind this surprising move, adding an intriguing layer to the Messi-Guardiola saga.
From PSG to Inter Miami: Messi’s Unpredictable Summer Transfer
After winning the 2022 World Cup with Argentina, Messi departed PSG as a free agent during the summer transfer window. Initially expected to return to Barcelona or join Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia, Messi surprised the football world by joining David Beckham co-owned MLS team Inter Miami. The narrative unfolds the circumstances leading to this unconventional decision, adding another chapter to Messi’s unpredictable journey.
A Football Saga for the Ages
The Messi-Guardiola saga, though not culminating in a reunion at Manchester City, remains a captivating and complex chapter in football history. It not only highlights the intricacies of player-team dynamics but also showcases the unpredictable nature of the beautiful game, making it a saga that will be remembered for generations to come.