Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that he hopes Lionel Messi finishes his career at Barcelona, amid rumours linking the devastating Argentine with a transfer elsewhere.

The current Ballon d’Or holder is believed to have stalled on a new deal at Camp Nou, with reports that a host of English and European teams are willing to break the bank to sign him arising in recent weeks.

The prospect of Messi in the Premier League would be mouth-watering, with United fans surely hoping their side could convince the South American to switch to Old Trafford.

However, Mourinho has stated that the best thing for football at large is the superstar continuing with his boyhood club and retiring at the Catalan side.

“Lionel Messi, every season it is the same story – he’s going to leave and he never leaves,” the Portuguese stated at a press conference, as reported by The Mirror.

“Honestly, I hope he never leaves because he belongs to Barcelona and Barcelona belongs to him.

“The natural thing and beautiful thing would be for him to stay and finish his career at Barcelona.

“I think he will be staying at Barcelona. That is just a personal opinion.”

Mourinho had a number of ill-fated run-ins with Barcelona during his time as Real Madrid manager, with the Argentine scoring regularly in Clasico fixtures during his time in the Spanish capital.

Messi netted both goals for the Catalans on Wednesday night as the La Liga powerhouses beat Celtic 2-0 at Parkhead in the Champions League.

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