Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has said that former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola can expect to receive a warm welcome upon his return to the Nou Camp on Wednesday evening for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, the Daily Star reports.
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Guardiola makes his first return to his former stomping ground for the first time since his departure back in 2012 by bringing his rampant Bayern side to try and secure a place in the Champions League final.
The 44-year-old still enjoys legend status in Catalonia, and Messi believes that the fans will have no problem expressing their admiration for him before the game.
However, the Argentine also warned that those sentiments won’t go past the whistle, as the Barcelona faithful will be looking for vengeance from the clash between the two at the same stage in 2013, when Bayern chalked up a 7-0 aggregate win.
“I would expect the crowd to cheer for Pep because he won everything while he was coach here,” Messi said.
“But once the match starts then the fans will cheer for us as normal.
“Guardiola knows us all very well and we were fortunate enough to win lots of titles under him.
“I haven’t kept in touch regularly with Pep since he left. I had a great relationship with him when he was here though.
“What I achieved with Guardiola was brilliant. I grew and learnt a lot and I still want to grow and learn about football.”