Xavi: Messi's return to Barcelona depends on his decision

Xavi: Messi’s return to Barcelona depends on his decision

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez says Lionel Messi’s possible return to the Catalan club this summer depends on the Argentine striker’s intentions.

Lionel Messi will be out of contract with PSG at the end of the season, with sources telling ESPN that he will part ways with the French club when his contract expires.

There has been interest in Messi from clubs in Saudi Arabia and the United States, but Barcelona remain hopeful of bringing him back despite the lingering financial problems that led to his 2021 departure.

“Whatever,” Xavi said in a press conference on Monday when asked about Barcelona’s chances of signing Messi.

“It depends on a lot of things. There’s not much more I can say. Leo is a spectacular footballer. He’s a friend. From there it depends on a lot of things, but especially on his intentions and what he wants.”

Messi, who will turn 36 in June, could earn a bigger income in Saudi Arabia, but Barcelona’s intent to bring him back has increased in recent weeks, with vice-president Rafa Yuste also expressing his desire to sign him.

“I want him back, that’s the reality,” Yuste told DAZN on Saturday after Barcelona were presented with the LaLiga trophy at Spotify’s Camp Nou following the loss to Real Sociedad.

“After everything he’s given to this club, coming through the academy, starting his career here… it’s a beautiful story and a beautiful story must have a happy ending.”

“If all goes well – and even if he has to make a final decision – I hope he comes back. We will all be very happy.”

Barcelona have submitted a feasibility plan to LaLiga detailing the cuts they will make over the next two years to register new contracts handed out to current first team players, including Ronald Araujo and Gavi, in addition to making signings this summer.

Xavi’s squad lacked a natural right-back in the second half of the season, but Xavi said his priority was finding a replacement for Sergio Busquets, who has decided not to renew his contract with the club.

“Right back is not priority No. 1,” said the Barcelona boss. “Busquets is leaving, so obviously we need a top level defensive midfielder for next season.

“Our captain is leaving, so we need a very good player to come in. We have to replace him in the best way. From there, there are other priorities and the more we strengthen, the better. We want to be more competitive.”

ESPN reported in March that Inigo Martinez, Ilkay Gundogan and Ruben Neves were some of the other potential signings this summer as Barcelona look to build on their domestic success this season by picking up form in the Champions League after back-to-back group stage exits.

“We are making plans and nothing has been decided on any players yet,” he said when asked if forward Ansu Fati would definitely stay at the club after the upcoming transfer window.

“We will see what business we can do. We are all waiting to see how LaLiga responds to the feasibility plan.”

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