Just days after the conclusion of the Qatar World Cup, Manchester City are back in action as they prepare to face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup fourth round. Pep Guardiola faced the media for the first time since extending his contract at the Etihad until the summer of 2025. He discussed Julian Alvarez, who starred for Argentina in their triumph in Qatar, Lionel Messi, and the condition of his players ahead of the second part of the season.
On Julian Alvarez:
"We are incredibly happy for him, congratulations to him and Nico Otamendi, and personally to Leo Messi. To Argentina, well deserved. We're delighted for Julian, he played a lot, and his contribution was amazing for the team. We have a world champion in our team."
Potential return date:
"He'll have a week, ten days off. He played many games, lots of tension. He'll have a break, maybe before the new year [he'll return]."
Pep on Leo Messi:
"Everyone has an opinion but nobody can doubt he's there as [one of the] greatest of all time. For me, he's the best, difficult to understand a player can compete with what he's done. The people who saw Pele or Di Stefano or Maradona. The opinions are sentimental, but the other side, if he wouldn't have won the World Cup, the opinion and my opinion wouldn't change. It's normal that people depend if you win or you are evaluated. The final cherries of an incredible career."
On fan support for both sides, given recent hostility and an attempt to improve relations:
"Be supportive, support your team unconditionally. This country is the best example. Enjoy the games with incredible players on both sides. Always has been this way."
Pep on his contract extension:
"Thank you so much for the confidence they [hierarchy] have in me. It will be difficult to repay the confidence they have in me... I do not have enough words to express my gratitude to this club and how they want me here."
On the Champions League:
"It's not the only one, but I admit that's the trophy that we want. It wouldn't be complete my period here if we don't win. It's not the only reason I extend my contract. I have the feeling this club sooner or later will get it. We tried in the past, the first season. We tried with all our strength and power. Of course, we will try it."
Pep on the condition of his players:
"The players at the World Cup are in better condition than the ones that were here. Sergio [Gomez]/Erling [Haaland]/Riyad [Mahrez]/Cole [Palmer] are missing a little bit. They competed every day and we had holidays. That’s why it's so important to maintain the rhythm."
Written by: @NA1907_
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