Pep Guardiola Asked Where Lionel Messi Was In Man City’s Dressing Room – Nasri
Former Man City Star Recalls Moment Pep Guardiola Asked Players Where Lionel Messi Was in the Dressing Room
Samir Nasri has recalled an intense dressing room anecdote from Pep Guardiola’s opening days as Manchester City manager, involving the now Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi.
Nasri was a popular figure at Manchester City, making a total of 179 appearances for the club, scoring 27 goals and providing 40 assists in the process – most notably at crucial times during the title run-ins of 2012 and 2014.
However, it is probably fair to say Samir Nasri and Pep Guardiola’s paths didn’t cross in the way many Manchester City fans had hoped. The Catalan boss was appointed in the summer of 2016 – the same summer Nasri made a £14 million move to Sevilla.
Speaking to Canal+ this week, as translated and relayed by Get French Football News, Nasri has been discussing the short time he spent with Guardiola at the club, recalling a pretty intense anecdote.
“He spoke to us about (Lionel) Messi at the start of the (16/17) season to get a message across,” the now-pundit began.
“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.”
Samir Nasri continued, “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’.”
It’s clear to see Pep Guardiola demands some very high standards of his players, imposing such levels from day one.
Working with Lionel Messi at Barcelona may be an unfair comparison, but the effort levels demanded remain the same, whoever the player and regardless of the circumstances at play.
Samir Nasri continued, “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,” Nasri concluded.