Lionel Messi believes Manchester City could struggle to keep hold of their stars this summer after the club were handed a two-season ban from European competitions.
City have been banned after being found guilty of FFP rule breaches though the Etihad outfit are appealing the decision.
Pep Guardiola’s side are allowed to remain in this season’s Champions League and they will face Real Madrid in the last-16.
City had been linked with a move for Messi recently with the Argentine having fallen out with Barca chief Eric Abidal.
A transfer is now even more unlikely with Messi admitting it will be hard for City to keep hold of their star players through the summer given the European ban.
“It is surprising because nobody thought that such a thing could happen,” he told Mundo Deportivo.
“Paris [Saint-Germain] paid a fine or I don’t know how it went. If in the end City does not play the Champions League for what it is, with the players, the club, and the money it spends, it will be weird.
“There are many players who may look for an exit or perhaps not. The Champions League is very attractive so two years without playing it is screwed.”
City returned to action for the first time since news of the ban on Wednesday as they beat West Ham 2-0 in the Premier League.
And Guardiola insists his side will remain upbeat for the rest of the season despite the prospect of no European football.
“We appeal. When someone believes they are right they have to fight,” Guardiola said.
“We are professionals on the pitch, what happens off it we cannot do much [about].
“We talked about what we have to do until the end of the season, especially for the people who love this club.
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“We will play our game the best as possible. We have a lot of interesting things to play for.
“If they don’t sack me I will be here. I love this club. I like to be here. This is my club and I will be here, no matter.
“The club has to fight and I trust the club 100 per cent, what they have done and they have explained to me.
“This situation is not finished and we will wait but until the resolution is not done you have to play and play and that is what is going to happen.”
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