Lionel Messi didn't look best pleased to be left out of Barcelona's starting XI against Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.
The Catalans, who had been crowned Spanish champions for the 21st time a few days previously, began with just two of the 11 players who are expected to start at Wembley next week: Victor Valdes and Javier Mascherano.
Guardiola didn't want his goalkeeper going 20 days without a game, while the Argentinian has excelled as an emergency centre-half in the absence of Eric Abidal and Carles Puyol and may well start in London. His form contrasts with that of his compatriot.
Alarm bells are not ringing, but Messi has been less than his spectacular self recently. He always talks about the team being everything and deflects personal plaudits, but he does so from a position of absolute strength: he usually wins the team trophies as well as individual awards.
One he won't retain this season is the Pichichi top scorers' award which is set to go to his rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored nine in his last three games to surge seven clear.
Ronaldo has equalled the 38-goal all-time record for La Liga and you'd fancy him to beat it with Madrid's remaining home game being against already-relegated Almeria at the weekend. Hercules are down with Almeria, but any one from Zaragoza, Deportivo, Getafe, Osasuna, Real Sociedad and Mallorca could join the doomed pair at the weekend.
That's Depor who were one of the best teams in Europe a decade ago and haven't played second-division football since 1991, and Mallorca who were 11th until last week. Clubs are likely to need a highest-ever points total to stay up.
Messi probably cares far less about the Pichichi than his rival. He's more selfless and his assist count of 18 in the league dwarfs Ronaldo's eight. He can count on only four penalties to Ronaldo's eight too, but that's not to discredit the Madrid star.
Ronaldo has 51 goals in all competitions for Madrid this season against Messi's 52. Both totals are astonishing.
Messi would look foolish if he complained publicly about being rested. He was, after all, on the bench because of the upcoming Champions League final, but like most players who make it to the very top, he just wants to play every game.
Managers can talk about rotation systems and their charges will nod along in compliance, but the Rooneys or Ronaldos would all rather be on the pitch. Messi watched Barca's goalless stalemate with Depor and wanted to do something about it rather than vegetate in his tracksuit.
Ronaldo would doubtless swap situations with Messi, but the Argentinian is used to getting his way and everything has gone that way since Guardiola took charge in 2008. Then, the young coach made the decision to build his team about the brilliant young star and to dispense with the old talisman Ronaldinho.
So Messi became the main man on and off the pitch. He emerged from his shell and heavy fringe and matured as a person. He went from mumbling his way through interviews like an uninterested child to giving a little bit more - and even more when the tape recorder went off.
And when he wasn't totally content, like when his relationship with Zlatan Ibrahimovic deteriorated, he would go into quiet reflection for a few hours. Colleagues would just leave him to his own devices. In moments of disillusionment, past Barca stars from Maradona to Patrick Kluivert would have hit bars and discos. That's not Messi's style, though he's not the stay-at-home console addict some suggest.
Messi's professionalism is seldom doubted, but he is afforded privileges not granted to others. If he doesn't show up to training, then he doesn't show up to training - and that's that.
He'll look back at another great season as the fulcrum of a side which is readily compared to Johan Cruyff's Dream Team which won Barca's first European Cup as late as 1992. Cruyff maintains a high profile in Catalonia and he's a superb newspaper columnist. He enjoys power without a position, but is reluctant to say which side is better, saying that both sides were brilliant for different reasons. His most prominent student Guardiola still eulogises about his former mentor however.
"Without Cruyff and the Dream Team, there probably wouldn't have been a Van Gaal, a Rijkaard, or a Guardiola," said the Barca boss. The 'Barca way' isn't the stuff of myth, but a Cruyff-inspired methodology which continues to deliver sustained success.
"Players have to think quickly and to play with intelligence, always knowing the next pass," says Guardiola. "This is the Barcelona way. It is how we have been all been taught to play and how the public expects us to play. It is attractive and effective."
Barca is a club built on a dual footballing philosophy of promoting locally-reared players with international additions. Like any fans, Barca's make special dispensation for their own home-grown talent, but they've always also embraced outrageously gifted outsiders from Maradona to Laudrup, Kubala to Ronaldinho. And now Messi, who is both local and international. His season hasn't ended quite as he hoped because he's not going to win the Pichichi, but another European Cup would compensate. And then some.