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Pep Guardiola once asked his Manchester City players if Lionel Messi was in the dressing room as a way of getting a point across.
Former City star Samir Nasri told the anecdote during an appearance on Canal+, shedding light on his very brief stint playing under Guardiola.
The Catalan arrived in the summer of 2016 and Nasri was sent on loan to Sevilla not long after making a cameo against West Ham United.
But it was still enough time for Nasri to learn what Guardiola is all about. He told the squad that nobody was allowed to sulk if they were not playing and that Messi, who was unplayable under him, was the only player he allowed to be disgruntled.
"He spoke to us about (Lionel) Messi at the start of the (16/17) season to get a message across," Nasri recalled, as per Get Football News.
"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 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."
There was rumours of Messi reuniting with Guardiola at City this summer when he ended a glittering 21-year association with Barcelona.
Instead, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer and opened his account for his new club in stunning style against Guardiola's City in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
"We dealt with PSG first of all, but we know it's impossible to control Leo for 90 minutes," Guardiola said after seeing Messi score the second in a 2-0 defeat.
"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 50-year-old wanted to see him retire at Barca but is content with seeing him enjoy a new environment.
"I wish him the best," Guardiola added.
"If he is happy and enjoying this period in Paris, I will be happy."
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