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Monday, 20 February 2012

Players desperate for Guardiola to stay | Messi

Barcelona: Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has revealed that he and his colleagues have made it clear to coach Pep Guardiola that they want him to sign a new deal with the club.

Guardiola's current contract expires at the end of the season and the former Spain international has yet to give any indication as to whether he will sign an extension.

Messi, though, remains optimistic that the Barcelona boss will soon commit his future to the club as he retains the full support of the Catalans' squad.

"He knows what we think and he will make the decision when he sees fit," the Argentina international was quoted as saying by AS. "We want him to continue. He means a lot to us and to this club."

Meanwhile, after scoring four goals in a stunning 5-1 victory over third-placed Valencia on Sunday evening, in what was his 200th La Liga appearance for Barca, Messi resisted the opportunity to bite back at those who have questioned his form of late.

"There is always a time of year, it is said [that he's playing poorly]," he reasoned. "[But] I have the confidence of my colleagues, of the coach and people of Barcelona - and that is what matters to me and makes me feel happy."

Messi, who made his debut for the club in October 2004, has now scored 146 La Liga goals for Barca.

Meanwhile, Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta insists that Guardiola will be given as much time as he wants to decide whether to sign a contract extension with the club.

Barca supporters are becoming increasingly fearful that their beloved coach could move on at the end of the campaign, but Zubizarreta says that the Catalan club's directors are unwilling to pressure Guardiola into making a decision one way or another.

"Pep knows he has all the confidence of the club and the team," the former Barca goalkeeper told Canal Plus.
"He's asked for time and that is not a problem. We have given him no deadline - and nor will we; he has our trust. If he needs time, he will be take it. Every year that he has renewed, he needed time to feel it."

"He is a coach who lives better with the pressure of a one-year contract. Each has their own style. That type of contract is fine with us. The club is calm."

Guardiola has led Barcelona to 13 titles since succeeding Frank Rijkaard as coach in 2008.


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