• Mourinho has said Spurs would not have signed Lionel Messi
  • Messi has been forced to stay at Barca because of his $826 million release clause
  • Man City had offered him a five-year deal

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has taken a subtle dig at Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City saying, Tottenham couldn't have signed Lionel Messi because it "respects" the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

The last few weeks in soccer were dedicated mostly to Messi’s future at FC Barcelona after the 33-year-old player had informed the club about his desire to leave the club this summer. He was immediately linked with several top European clubs, but Man City were believed to be firm favorites to make the blockbuster signing. Messi eventually chose to remain in Barcelona because he was not allowed to leave for free and his release clause at the Nou Camp side was a mammoth $826 million.

It was reported that Man City had offered Messi a five-year contract that also included playing in the Major League Soccer (MLS) for their sister club New York FC. At the start of the year, Man City were slammed with a two-season European ban due to an alleged break of FFP rules. Guardiola’s side ultimately was waived off the punishment by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after an appeal in June.

Many Premier League managers had voiced disapproval against the final verdict, including Mourinho.

"In the case, it's a disgraceful decision because if City are not guilty of it then you are not punished with $13 million. If you're not guilty you shouldn't have a fine. If they are guilty the decision is also a disgrace and you should be banned from the competition," the Portuguese manager had said in an interview.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho Photo: AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

In a promotional video of Top Eleven, Mourinho once again could not resist taking a dig at Man City while discussing Messi’s recent transfer episode. 

When Mourinho was asked if he would like to sign the Barcelona skipper, the Spurs boss replied, "For my Top Eleven team? No, not for Tottenham. Just for Top Eleven. We respect Financial Fair Play at Tottenham. He can only go to a team that doesn't respect Financial Fair Play, so it's not Tottenham, for sure."