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English Premiership

Pellegrini quashes Messi rumours

MESSI-TAXMANCHESTER, November 24- Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed suggestions that the club are interested in signing Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona forward, who broke Telmo Zarra’s La Liga goalscoring record with a hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Sevilla at the weekend, has seen his future come into question in recent weeks following comments he made about the current state of the club.

City are thought one of the few clubs in world football with the spending power required to lure the four-time Ballon d’Or winner away from his beloved Nou Camp.

But Pellegrini insists the speculation linking him with a switch to the Premier League are unfounded and believes his current status at Barcelona will make it very difficult for him to leave.

“The rumours are only rumours,” the former Malaga boss told reporters.

“What he did was exceptional and there are few players that can reach his level. The record he has got reflects how important he is for Barcelona.”

City defender and compatriot Martin Demichelis hailed the 27-year-old’s incredible achievement but stopped short of commenting on speculation ahead of their crunch Champions League clash with Bayern on Tuesday.

“I am happy for his record. For me it is not a surprise any more, what he is doing,” he said.

“I don’t think I should give an opinion about the rumours before such an important game.”

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