However, club president Josep Bartomeu, despite previous criticisms of his administration, was never likely to let that happen and has now secured the Argentine genius to a monstrous new deal that will keep Messi at the Camp Nou until 2021.
Asked about the speculation of City's offer to Messi, Guardiola said: "That's not true".
According to Marca, City also offered the 30-year-old a mouth-watering £850,000-a-week to reunite with former boss Pep Guardiola.
It is reported that City made this bid to Messi's representatives without Barcelona's permission. Barcelona now sits on top of La Liga, 5 points clear of Real Madrid. Fierce rivals Real Madrid have ruled the roost winning it for two consecutive seasons.
"Years ago my body didn't feel it but now it starts to feel the strain", he explained during an interview with TyC Sports. However, he was hopeful that Sampaoli's team can improve as they will have a month to work on their game before the tournament begins.
The Juventus striker had also missed Argentina's previous two qualifiers, with the Albiceleste eventually booking their place in Russian Federation with a 3-1 win in Ecuador in which Messi grabbed a hat-trick.
With the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, Lionel Messi would have been a fine addition to their already star-studded squad.