Barcelona vice-president confirms Lionel Messi transfer talks as PSG contract comes to an end
Barcelona have admitted to being in contact with Lionel Messi to bring him back to the club when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires in June.
Vice-president Rafa Yuste confirmed on Friday that the club are looking into the possibility of re-signing Messi, who left for PSG in 2021, with coach Xavi Hernandez later adding that he hopes to see the Argentine again at Spotify Camp Nou.
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“I’m still disgusted that he can’t continue here,” Yuste told a news conference. “Of course I would like him to come back, because of what he represents sportingly, socially and economically.
“We are in contact with [Messi’s camp], Yes. Great stories should have happy endings, and there’s a mutual love between the two parties.”
Messi, 35, left two years ago after two decades in Catalonia as Barca couldn’t afford to renew his contract. The financial aspect of any return this summer remains an obstacle.
Barca need to cut more than €150m from annual spending – or raise money through transfers – to comply with LaLiga’s economic regulations and be able to sign players and record contract renewals.
“We still have two months to work hard to present our revenue and sustainability plan to [LaLiga president Javier] Tebas,” Yuste added when asked if Messi’s return is really possible.
“I don’t like talking about Leo because he’s a PSG player, but if all the conditions are met, we’re open to the possibility. [Barca] president [Joan Laporta] has been with Leo’s father, and there is a good relationship.
“Of course, there are no plans to go on the attack because we don’t want PSG to see it like that. If it happens, it will be because fate brings you back to where you need to go. If all the conditions come together and for Leo to return to Barcelona, it would be the perfect end to a very happy story.”
Barca coach Xavi, who played alongside Messi, says it’s more about what the Argentine striker wants to do next than money, with a renewal at PSG and a move to Major League Soccer other possibilities.
“There is the issue of fair play, but more than anything it depends on Leo’s intentions and [if he wants] to come back,” he told a press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Elche.
“A lot of conditions have to be met for that to happen. He won everything in the game, and it will depend on how happy he is. If he wants to come back, if that’s his intention, we’ll talk about it.
“We are friends, we talk often, but now is not the time to talk about it, for the good of Leo, the club or the team. It is a problem that we are dealing with [with]but from there to [him returning] is a big leap.
“I hope we see him come home. I’m the first person who would love to see the best player back. And it’s normal for fans to be excited about a ‘Last Dance’ like [happened with] Michael Jordan.”
Elsewhere, Xavi played down comments from Ansu Fati’s father Bori this week, suggesting the player should look for a new club in search of more minutes.
Xavi said he understood Bori’s frustration but was only worried about Ansu, who he added is ‘focused, training well and relaxed’.
He also spoke about the controversy that surfaced around Gavi while he was serving in Spain. Reports claimed that the midfielder’s attitude caused problems on and off the pitch.
“I guess the problem is that he’s a Barca player; if he played for another team, I guess [his attitude] would be a virtue,” he said.
“He is one of the best midfielders in the world right now, without a doubt. If he played in another team, he would be treated differently.
“I don’t understand how there can be a campaign against an 18-year-old kid who is successful like him and plays the way he does. It surprises me. No matter where he plays, he should be admired. is because of the rivalry.”
Barca return to La Liga against Elche this weekend with a 12-point lead at the top of the table, although they are missing Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen through injury and Raphinha through suspension.