Barcelona will need time to adjust when Messi leaves: Guardiola, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Barcelona will need time to adjust when Messi leaves: Guardiola

Barcelona will face a period of adjustment when the time comes for Lionel Messi's departure, said Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

The 32-year-old Argentinian superstar, who is into his 16th season with Barcelona's first team, is fast approaching the twilight of his career.

Messi's current deal ends next season, but he also has a clause in his contract which allows him to leave on a free transfer in June, reported the Spanish media.

In an interview with Spanish YouTube channel Post United, Guardiola was asked whether Messi's exit will be felt as severely as Cristiano Ronaldo's departure for Juventus in 2018.

"It is inevitable, these players are so important," said Guardiola, who coached Barca from 2008 to 2012. "When Messi leaves Barca, they will need some time to re-adjust... These guys score 40 or 50 goals a season."

Guardiola's comments came after Messi's public row with sporting director Eric Abidal for suggesting the players were partly responsible for Ernesto Valverde's sacking last month.

Barca, who are second in La Liga, face Real Betis on Monday morning (Singapore time).