Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi will be on a date with a unique confrontation after Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain, which faces Manchester City (Tuesday, September 28, 2021) in the Champions League in the “Parc des Princes”. The two men will meet face to face again, and the moment of handshake between them will be like turning back the clock, when Barcelona under the leadership of Guardiola and Messi dominated the world, writing the most beautiful pages of football between 2008 and 2012.
Guardiola, who has supervised City since 2016, has never hidden his admiration for Messi, whom he considers “the best player in history.” He sought more than once to sign him, and the last of these attempts was this summer, but his attempt was unsuccessful. These two great symbols in the world of modern football created a sophisticated and dominant football model in an unprecedented way in history, which was called “Tiki Taka”, and it was a major reason for Barcelona’s dominance of the game, Spain and then Europe.
During his stay with Messi, Guardiola won 14 titles in four years with the Catalan club, including two titles in the Champions League (2009 and 2011), a title he could not achieve later without Messi. As for Messi, under the leadership of the Spanish coach, he scored his most prominent individual and collective achievements, winning the Golden Ball three times (2009, 2010 and 2011) and the Golden Boot twice (2010 and 2012).
After Guardiola’s departure from Barcelona in 2012, following a period that witnessed Messi’s transformation from a great talent to the best player in the world, he faced the Catalan club for the first time in the Champions League semi-finals in 2015. Barcelona beat Bayern Munich, led by Guardiola 5-3 on aggregate, on his way to win the title. Messi made history, scoring two late goals during the 3-0 victory over the German team in the first leg at the Camp Nou.
And the only other time, they met in the group stage in 2016, after Guardiola’s arrival in “Man City”. Messi scored a hat-trick to lead Barcelona to a 4-0 win at Camp Nou, and then gave his team the lead in Manchester, but City won the match 3-1. While the world’s eyes are still focused on the extent of the change that will affect the results of Paris Saint-Germain in Europe after Messi joined on a free deal, Guardiola will remain bemoaning his failure to reunite with the Argentine in his quest to lead City to the European title for the first time in his history.
Pep indicated the team’s need for a striker, saying, “What the club needs in the coming years is a striker. When it’s not possible, that’s it. We continue to work with the amazing squad we have.“.
Unlike City, PSG has great offensive keys, led by French star Kylian Mbappe, who topped France’s scorer rankings during the past three seasons.. Messi left Barcelona and is the club’s all-time top scorer with 672 goals in 778 games. But off the pitch, the relationship between Messi and Guardiola has not always been smooth.
وتعود first incident Until 2009, a few months after Guardiola arrived at Blaugrana. After Barcelona won six titles in 15 months, and while Pep was sitting in the bus that transported the team, he received a text message from Leo, then 22, and was sitting behind Guardiola a few seats, in which the Argentine said, “I see that I am no longer that important to the team.”“.
Messi, who is known for his shyness, did not find a different way to express his annoyance with the arrival of the Swedish Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the team, and instead of direct confrontation, he preferred to express his feelings through text messages, as revealed by the book “Messi Mystery”, which was launched in 2013, which revealed “text messages”. That sparked the rift in the relationship between the two men. A few days later, Guardiola calmed the frightened souls during a press conference: “Leo, we have to make sure he’s always playing. Nothing we achieve would be possible without him. For us it’s indisputable.”“.
second storm I arrived in September 2011. Pep decided to start with Messi on the bench in the match against its host Real Sociedad in the Spanish League, which ended in a draw (2-2), while the “No. 10” was just returning from his participation with his country. Messi could not “digest” Guardiola’s decision. Pushed from the bench thirty minutes before the end of the match, he couldn’t make the difference to change the final score, so he expressed his indignation by refusing to speak to his coach for days. After that incident, Guardiola did not leave Messi on the bench again, but the relationship between the two men cracked..
“Leo, you have to talk to him a little, listen to a little what he says, and above all, never take him off the field, not even at the end of the game to give him a warm welcome,” Guardiola said at the time. Guardiola stated in 2014 that “every time he left Messi on the bench, it caused a scandal.”“.
The same incident happened seven years later When Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino decided to replace Messi with Moroccan Ashraf Hakimi 14 minutes before the end of the match, which led to clear annoyance for the best player in the world six times, he refused to shake hands with his coach when he left the field.
In 2015, Messi confirmed that he “has not had a relationship with Pep since his departure from Barcelona.” This statement was three years after Guardiola left Camp Nou. The Argentine did not attend Guardiola’s farewell party, and he returned the reason that he was very moved to appear in front of the media, while his colleagues such as Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and others, were present at the farewell conference..
The press at the time interpreted this absence as further evidence of the divorce between the two men, who will find themselves on Tuesday for the first time far from the memory of their years in Barcelona. In general, no one knows how Messi plays more than Guardiola, but it is also an established fact that Guardiola knows perfectly well that no one can stop Messi when he is in the day.
H.Z/ A.G.M (A.F.B)