Pep Guardiola affirmed that he is willing to field a phone call from Florentino Perez himself should Real Madrid wish to take Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne.
De Bruyne joined City one year before Pep swapped Bayern Munich for the Etihad, and he has gone on to become the cornerstone of the coach’s record-breaking side.
The Belgium international has netted 47 times in 204 appearances for the Premier League outfit, establishing himself in the process as one of the world’s elite midfielders.
That talent has not gone unnoticed, with Madrid linked with De Bruyne’s services on more than one occasion in the past.
But Guardiola laughed off the speculation and suggested that Madrid’s president would have to get in touch.
“Could De Bruyne play in Madrid? Florentino will have to call me,” he joked on Post United in an interview with YouTuber ‘DjMaRiiO’
Phil Foden is another player catching the eye at the Etihad, with the 19-year-old playing a regular part in City’s plans over the last two seasons.
Pep warned that any side interested in signing the young England international would have to pay dearly for the privilege.
“Phil Foden is very good. He is going to explode,” he added.
“He doesn’t have a release clause, so you are going to have a hard time picking him up. You will have to negotiate with me.”
While he has no problem praising the abilities of his charges, Guardiola is rather more circumspect about his own playing talent.
Despite starring in the Barcelona midfield during one of the most successful periods in club history as part of Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’, he insists that in the modern game he would not make the grade.
“I was in my best shape at 23 or 24 years old,” he recalled.
“I was a slow central midfielder, I couldn’t shoot, I couldn’t dribble, I was poor in the air, I wasn’t quick.
“I got by, Barcelona’s playing style helped me. Sometimes I watch myself in a game from back then and now I couldn’t play even as a joke.
“Now, everyone is so much better prepared, the way they are taken care of and with training technology, physios, doctors.”