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Pep Guardiola honest about help from Lionel Messi – “I owe him a bottle of wine”

The Argentine superstar netted a remarkable 218 goals in Pep Guardiola’s four seasons in charge at the Camp Nou in which the club went through an unprecedented period of success

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Pep Guardiola has spoken honestly about the impact Lionel Messi has had on his coaching career and believes “I owe him a bottle of wine.”

Guardiola was in the Barcelona hotseat when Messi began to establish himself as a truly world class player, with the two winning three La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns together. The pair remain hugely complimentary of each other, with Messi hailing Guardiola as “having something special” while the Manchester City boss has claimed the Argentine is the world’s best ever footballer.

Prior to Guardiola’s appointment at the Catalan giants, a young Messi’s season best goal tally stood at just 17 but his rate exploded after the appointment of the former midfield maestro. The Argentine netted 38 goals in Guardiola’s first season at the helm, then 47 times in the 2009/10 campaign, then 60 goals the following year and in Guardiola’s final season, an astonishing 73 times.

The impact of Messi elevated Guardiola’s Barca from being a great team of their era to one of the best of all-time, providing the goal threat that propelled the club to winning two Champions League titles in the space of three years and sparking a period of relative domestic dominance for the Catalan giants.

Guardiola spoke to Telemundo Deportes about the importance of Messi in his career: “Messi means everything in my career. He made me more competitive. He knows there was an amazing group of players. There were many stars who generated a once-in-a-lifetime chemistry between all of them. We won a lot, but without him we wouldn’t have won so much.”

The current Man City boss went on to compare him managing Messi to the NBA and when Phil Jackson managed Michael Jordan – widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all-time – at the Chicago Bulls.

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Messi and Guardiola enjoyed remarkable successes in four seasons together at Barcelona
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David Ramos/Getty Images)

Guardiola continued: “I felt what Phil Jackson could feel with Michael Jordan because I had Leo Messi. I owe Messi everything. Everything everything everything. He made me more competitive. We had an impressive group of players, there were a lot of stars who created a unique chemistry between them. Without him, we too would have won. But how much? Impossible. I owe him a bottle of wine to thank him for all the contracts he made me sign.”

There had been speculation that Guardiola and Messi would be reunited once again in their career after the boss left the Camp Nou in 2012, but with the two currently at Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain respectively – that possibility appears to be increasingly unlikely.

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