Nasri was able to gain some insight into Guardiola’s ways and experience first-hand the Spaniard’s evident adoration for Messi after their trophy-laden spell together at Barcelona
Samir Nasri has revealed that the only player former boss Pep Guardiola would allow to sulk was Lionel Messi.
According to Nasri, the current Manchester City manager would use Messi as an example in order to get his message across to his players.
The former City midfielder only made one cameo appearance under Guardiola after the Catalan arrived at the Etihad in the summer of 2016 before being shipped out on loan to Spanish side Sevilla.
However, before he departed, Nasri was able to gain some insight into Guardiola’s ways and experience first-hand the Spaniard’s evident adoration for Messi after their trophy-laden spell together at Barcelona.
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Speaking on Canal +, the Frenchman lifted the lid on his experiences during his brief time with Guardiola.
“He spoke to us about (Lionel) Messi at the start of the (16/17) season to get a message across,” Nasri told the French television channel via Get Football News France.
“He told us he would be our friend, up until the first match-day of the season, at which point he would have to make choices. So some players were going to be unhappy.
“He asked us in the dressing room, ‘Is Lionel Messi in here?’. So we all looked at each other, and said, no, he isn’t here. ‘So you don’t have the right to talk, because he’s the only player I would never put on the bench, he’s allowed to sulk’.
“Messi is someone that he greatly appreciates, they benefited from each other as he started him through the middle, and Messi won him titles – so they have that kind of relationship.
“I would agree with what he said because at Barcelona Messi was unplayable, he’s in the discussion for best player of all time. He has the right to not be happy, to come on or come off.”
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This summer, speculation was rife as rumours spread that the departing Barcelona star could team up with Guardiola at Manchester City in what would have been a spectacular reunion.
However, after 21 years with the Spanish giants, Messi opted to join French powerhouses Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
In fitting fashion, the Argentine opened his account for his new club with a stunning strike against Guardiola’s City at the Parc des Princes in the Champions league on Tuesday night.
After driving inside on the counter, Messi completed a neat exchange with Kylian Mbappe before curling home a sumptuous effort from the edge of the area.
“We dealt with PSG first of all, but we know it’s impossible to control Leo for 90 minutes,” Guardiola admitted in a post-match interview.
“He was not much in touch with the ball – of course he was coming back from injury, he needed a bit of rhythm – but we know quite well when he can run and get close to the ball, he is unstoppable.”
The City boss had previously expressed his desire to see Messi retire at Barcelona but couldn’t hide his delight at seeing the six-time Ballon d’Or winner back in scintillating form for his new club.
“I wish him the best,” Guardiola added. “If he is happy and enjoying this period in Paris, I will be happy.”