Guardiola usually dismisses any comparisons with Messi, a player he rates as the "best in history" after having managed the Argentine from 2008-12 during Barcelona's trophy-laden golden era.
"My advice for the players is not to think how many games are left, just to look to the next one", he said.
He converted De Bruyne's cross in the 48th minute and collected another pass from him to fire through Kasper Schmeichel's attempted save. Messi and Ronaldo, the current holder, have won it every year since 2008.
For City, the opportunity is there - if not to win it but at least to reach the final for the first time.
"We arrive good but we have to know that the Champions League is another competition, completely different", Guardiola said.
Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president for summit: South Korea
But the Trump administration is now willing to sit down and talk with the regime while that pressure campaign is ongoing. That may be a bridge too far for the Kim regime, which is adamant that the worldwide community accept its nuclear status.
Basel is the first opponent in the knockout stage, with the first leg of the last-16 series in Switzerland on Tuesday. "He's clinical...especially the third one and fourth one are fantastic".
Guardiola believes the win was "one of the best" performances his players have produced since he took over at City but urged them not to let their intensity drop.
Sergio Aguero stole the headlines going on to score foul goals.
Aguero's quadruple - incorporating his third hat-trick of the season - took his total for the campaign to 28 and his overall City tally to 197.
"I do everything to win titles with the team".
Manchester City have big hopes in the Champions League.
He may not be racking up the goals like some of his more attacking counterparts, but his contributions in both attack and defence are far ahead of most other players in Europe, even if the available statistics may not always reflect this.
"To be fair, when I am busy playing football I don't care".