Barcelona news: Club legend Pep Guardiola advices Catalan giants to prepare for Lionel Messi's retirement
What's the story
Messi, who will turn 33 next year, had been plagued by injuries during the start of the season.
In case you didn't know...
Guardiola is a La Masia product and spent 13 seasons as a Blaugrana player before moving to Brescia. The former defensive midfielder rejoined the side as a youth coach in 2007 before taking up the reins as coach the next year.
It was under Guardiola that Messi turned into the goal-scoring menace that he has turned into today. During the Guardiola era, Barcelona won three straight La Liga's and Spanish Super Cups along with two UEFA Champions Leagues, FIFA Club World Cup, Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup.
It was during the time under Guardiola that Messi won three of his five Balon d'Ors.
The heart of the matter
Manchester City and former Barcelona manager Guardiola has advised his former side to prepare for the retirement of their one of the greatest players ever to play the game. In an interview with the Catalunya Radio, Guardiola said:
One day Messi will retire and Barça will cope with that. What needs to be prepared is the space for the statue, the way to pay tribute to him like Kubala or Johan, and I've no doubt they'll find it.
He also said that he was privileged to have coached a very talented team and that Messi would've been injured every three months if the Argentine ran like he used to during his tenure.
There are great coaches who have won nothing because they didn't have Messi. I was lucky enough to have him, and Xavi and Iniesta and Dani Alves and Piqué. And what's more at the perfect age
Stars need to run like anyone else, if not the team can't cope, you need to convince them to run. Sometimes, you say to them 'I won't make you run 40 metres like the 20-year-old athlete in the team, but give me a reason not to run'. If someone doesn't run, but scores three goals every game I can buy that, but nobody scores three goals a game, only Messi comes close.
Right now, you need to ask Messi to make short bursts of effort. He can't run for the sake of running, no way. If Leo ran like he ran in his first season with me he'd be injured every three months. Managing legends of 30 and above is the hardest thing for a coach.
Messi was once again at his imperious best yesterday with two goals and two assists as Barcelona thrashed Real Valladolid.
Guardiola and his Manchester City side will host out-of-sorts Southampton during the weekend while Barcelona will travel to Levante.