Messi’s return to FC Barcelona impossible for now – Xavi

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Xavi acknowledged on Tuesday that Lionel Messi’s return to FC Barcelona is “impossible” at present but refused to rule out a reunion in the future.

The former Barca midfielder however rejected comparisons between himself and two legendary Blaugrana coaches.

Messi’s 21-year association with FC Barcelona came to an end last August when he joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on a free transfer amid the Catalan club’s financial woes.

However, his six league goals during his debut campaign in Paris represented his worst such tally since he netted the same amount in LaLiga as an 18-year-old in 2005/2006.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has just one year remaining on his contract in the French capital — though an option exists for a further 12 months with PSG.

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta did say on Sunday he did not believe the Argentine’s Barca story was over.

Messi’s former teammate and current FC Barcelona coach Xavi, however, told a news conference such a move was unfeasible, at least for now.

“He has a contract and it’s impossible right now,” Xavi said, looking ahead to Barca’s friendly with Juventus in Dallas on Tuesday.

“Messi is the best footballer in the world and in history. President Laporta already said that Messi’s story with Barca is not over, but now is not the time to talk about it.”

On a personal level, Xavi has enjoyed success since returning to FC Barcelona as head coach last November.

He led the side to a second-placed league finish after they had languished in ninth under predecessor Ronald Koeman.

Barca are now expected to challenge for silverware after acquiring the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

But Xavi insists he does not seek comparisons with legendary Blaugrana coaches Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff.

“I don’t have the idea of equalling Pep. What I want is for Barca to win,” he added.

“It’s not a question of ego, I don’t want to beat Pep or Johan or anyone. On the contrary, I have nurtured myself from them, I am a student of theirs.

“My dream is to return Barca to the top of the world.”

In spite of their perilous financial situation, FC Barcelona have recruited heavily throughout the transfer window.

With Sevilla and France defender Jules Kounde reportedly also close to joining, their spending does not look likely to stop any time soon.

And Xavi believes the capture of Lewandowski demonstrates the lure of the Catalan giants, adding: “It’s not for me, it’s for the club. What I do is speak clearly with the players.

“Everything adds up. But I will say that the club is the one that has strength. Its greatness is a magnet for footballers.

“People are excited to play at Barca. The fact that players of the stature of Lewandowski want to come proves it.”(dpa/NAN)

 

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