Pep Guardiola congratulates Lionel Messi on Argentina’s World Cup victory.

  • Pep Guardiola congratulates Lionel Messi after his World Cup heroics with Argentina.

Pep Guardiola congratulates Lionel Messi on Argentina's World Cup victory.
Pep Guardiola congratulates Lionel Messi on Argentina’s World Cup victory.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Lionel Messi is the greatest player of all time, and his opinion would not change even if did not win the World Cup in Qatar.

After 120 minutes of exhilarating action, defeated 4-2 on penalties on Sunday thanks in large part to Messi’s two goals and one more in the shootout.

The 35-year-old earned the Golden Ball award for the best player, with fans saying his performance had further elevated his status. He had a trophy-laden period at Barcelona under Guardiola during their together.

‘Everyone has (an) opinion but nobody can doubt that he’s there as the greatest of all time,’ Guardiola told reporters before Thursday’s League Cup fourth-round clash against Liverpool.

‘For me, he’s the best, it’s difficult to understand that a player can compete with what he’s done.

‘The people have seen Pele, Alfredo Di Stefano or Diego Maradona… the opinions are sentimental, but the other side, if he (Messi) wouldn’t have won the World Cup, the opinion and my opinion wouldn’t change.”


Guardiola said City’s 16 players at the tournament would slowly return for club duty.

‘Today, six players came back. They had an incredible, unique experience. Hopefully, they come back and work well and in four years they can have another experience in Canada, Mexico and the United States,’ Guardiola said.

‘The players were at the World Cup are in better condition than the players were here.

‘Sergio (Gomez), Erling (Haaland), Riyad (Mahrez) and Cole (Palmer), they’re missing the rhythm a bit compared to Rodri or Manuel Akanji.

‘I’m not concerned about March or April. Now every player has had different managers, a different competition… we have an important game tomorrow, then (in the Premier League) against Leeds (United).

‘The January schedule is demanding so we want them back as soon as possible.’



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