Man City have Lionel Messi Champions League belief after new Pep Guardiola contract

Manchester City believe Lionel Messi can lead them to Champions League glory. City announced on Thursday that manager Pep Guardiola had signed a new two-year contract to keep him at the club until 2023. And that has only fuelled speculation that Messi could make a stunning move to the Etihad.

Messi, who is out of contract at the end of this season, wanted to leave Barcelona in the summer transfer window and City were at the front of the queue to sign him.

The Argentina superstar believed there was a clause in his contract which allowed him to leave the club for free.

But the now departed president Josep Maria Bartomeu refused to grant Messi his wish.

Messi had to stay at the Nou Camp and avoided a legal dispute with the club he has served so well.

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But City are set to ramp up their interest in the 33-year-old as early as January, according to the Mirror.

Although a summer move on a free transfer is more likely, a winter transfer has not been ruled out completely.

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Guardiola has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups during his time as City boss.

But the one blot on his copybook is not taking City beyond the quarter-final of the Champions League.

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The club believes Messi, who is desperate to win the tournament again, is the player who can help his former Barca boss complete that achievement.

Speaking after signing his new contract, Guardiola insisted he could not be happier where he is right now.

He said: “Ever since I arrived at Manchester City I have been made to feel so welcome in the Club and in the city itself- from the players, the staff, the supporters, the people of Manchester and the Chairman and Owner.

“Since then we have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we are all very proud of that success.

“Having that kind of support is the best thing any manager can have.

“I have everything I could possibly want to do my job well and I am humbled by the confidence the Owner, Chairman, Ferran [Soriano] and Txiki [Begiristain] have shown in me to continue for two more years after this season.

“The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving, and I am very excited about helping Manchester City do that.”

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