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PEP GUARDIOLA could make a stunning return to Barcelona, because Lionel Messi wants him back.

The Spaniard left the Nou Camp after a revolutionary four-year spell before taking a sabbatical and going on to manage, firstBayern Munich, and now Manchester City.After a brief lull following Guardiola’s departure, Barcelona returned among Europe’s elite by becoming the first club inhistory to win a league, cup and Champions League Treble for a second time.However, a shocking 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain has led to reports Luis Enrique will leave his post as manager in the summer — and there are even fears Messi will go, with no new contract agreedas yet.It is our understanding that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner wants Guardiola to come back in the summer.Messi has personally called Guardiola andasked him to consider a return to the Nou Camp.He insists Enrique has created a rift so huge within the Barcelona camp that only the current City boss can repair.A managerial change in the summer seems inevitable as Barcelona are in freefall with both the league and Champions League seemingly out of reach.Ernesto Valverde, who has done an impressive job with Athletic Bilbao — and spent two years as a player at the Nou Camp — is the board’s first choice.While, 1992 European Cup-winning hero, Ronald Koeman, is another candidate.However, Messi has told the club’s hierarchy he wants Guardiola, as they negotiate a new deal.It is understood the striker has been askedhis opinion before every managerial appointment — including that of the former captain back in 2008.Guardiola gave Messi the platform to become the best player on the planet by giving him centre stage with the sale of Ronaldinho.However, following a difficult spell in the Premier League, he may be tempted to return “home”.

Updated: February 18, 2017 — 12:00 am

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