Lionel Messi Barça return? ‘Impossible,’ Xavi says
It is “impossible” for Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi to return to Barcelona at the moment, the club’s manager Xavi Hernández said.
When asked if he wanted Messi to return to the club, Xavi told reporters: “Yes, but at the moment, Leo has a contract with another club, so it’s impossible.
“It’s impossible. It doesn’t make sense talking about Messi now,” he said, adding: “He is the best footballer in the world and in the history of football.”
The manager said that President Joan Laporta had indicated he hopes “the story of Leo and Barça will continue.”
“We will see in the future,” Xavi added.
Messi, who made his Barcelona debut in 2004, won 10 La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with the Catalan club.Xavi said the club’s president has indicated he hopes “the story of Leo and Barça will continue.”
He left Barça in August 2021, joining Paris Saint-Germain to much fanfare in what was arguably the most shocking player move in history. But he failed to make the shortlist for the Ligue 1 Player of the Year after a disappointing first season in France.
Messi admitted in the summer of 2020 that he had wanted to leave Barcelona “all year” and claimed a clause in his contract meant he could do so for free, but in the end Messi was forced to stay as the club disagreed and wasn’t willing to reduce its €700 million ($897 million) release clause.
In the end, the Argentine was ready and willing to stay at the club, but financial difficulties at Barça led to Messi making his famous move to the French capital.
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has said Lionel Messi returning to the team is “impossible” at the moment, but he has not definitively closed the door on bringing him back in the future.
Barca president Joan Laporta told ESPN last week that he considers it his responsibility to ensure Messi has a “more beautiful ending” at Camp Nou following his painful exit last summer.
However, Xavi has played down the chances of re-signing Messi from Paris Saint-Germain, who he joined on a two-year contract last summer because Barca could not afford to renew his deal.
“Leo has a contract, so it’s impossible, impossible,” Xavi told a news conference in Dallas ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Juventus at the Cotton Bowl.
“It doesn’t make sense to speak about Messi. He is the best player in the world and the best ever. The president has already said that he hopes Messi’s story has not finished with Barcelona. We will see in the future, but it’s not the moment to speak about Leo, it’s the moment to talk about the exciting players we have here.”
The post-Messi era has cranked up a gear at Barcelona this summer with the signings of attackers Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha. They follow the January arrivals of Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Messi will be 36 when his contract expires with PSG in 2023, but reports continue to link him with a Barca return. Following Laporta’s comments to ESPN, Diario Sport reported that Xavi had asked the president to try to sign him on a free transfer next summer.
Messi’s departure from the Catalan club left a bitter taste. He was prepared to accept a lower salary to stay, but Barca were still unable to fit his wages within their LaLiga-imposed spending limit.
“Messi was everything,” Laporta said exclusively to ESPN last week.
“To Barca, he’s been possibly [the club’s] greatest player, the most efficient. To me, he’s only comparable to Johan Cruyff. But it had to happen one day. We had to make a decision as a consequence of what we inherited.
“I would hope that the Messi chapter isn’t over. I think it’s our responsibility to try to … find a moment to fix that chapter, which is still open and hasn’t closed, so it turns out as it should have, and that it has a more beautiful ending.
“As president of Barca, I did what I had to do. But also, as president of Barca, and on a personal level, I think I owe him.”
Laporta has previously spoken of his desire to see Messi back at Barca, where he won the Ballon d’Or on six occasions, as well as holding the club’s records for goals (672) and appearances (778).
Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez said Monday there’s no chance Lionel Messi returns to the La Liga club from Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Xavi described the idea of Messi coming back to Camp Nou one year after his departure as “impossible” at the moment because of his PSG contract, but he admitted that outlook could change in the future.
“It doesn’t make sense to speak about Messi. He is the best player in the world and the best ever,” Xavi told reporters. “The president has already said that he hopes Messi’s story has not finished with Barcelona. We will see in the future, but it’s not the moment to speak about Leo, it’s the moment to talk about the exciting players we have here.”
Messi was expected to remain at Barcelona last summer, and the sides even reached an agreement on a contract extension to keep him with the club, but Barca announced last August the deal couldn’t be finalized because of La Liga’s “regulations on player registration.”
Less than a week later he joined PSG. French outlet L’Equipe reported (via AS’ Andres Onrubia) that the legendary forward signed a two-year contract with an option for a third season at the Parc des Princes worth up to $129 million.
Joan Laporta returned to the role of Barcelona president in March 2021 after running a campaign heavily focused on Messi’s future. He previously held the position from 2003 through 2010, the period when the Argentine superstar began to emerge as one of the best players in history.
“I am sure that if someone else wins the election [other than me], Messi won’t stay at the club,” Laporta said during a debate before last year’s election. “I have a good relationship with him; there’s a lot of respect.”