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L. Messi

Barcelona is Messi's home but he must be 'left in peace' at PSG for now, says Xavi

7:12 pm AEDT 4/10/22
Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23
Xavi is refusing to be drawn on reports suggesting that Barcelona will look to bring Lionel Messi “home” in the summer of 2023.
  • Left Camp Nou for France in 2021
  • Into final year of his contract
  • Return to Catalunya speculated on

WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who bid farewell to Camp Nou in 2021 when making a move to Paris Saint-Germain, is due to hit free agency again at the end of the current campaign when a lucrative contract in France comes to a close. A retracing of steps to Catalunya is being speculated on, but Barca’s current boss – and a former team-mate of a mercurial Argentine forward – wants to see an all-time great “left in peace” before any decisions on his future are made.

WHAT THEY SAID: Xavi has told reporters when quizzed again on talk of Messi returning to Barcelona: “With Leo, let's see, but it's not the moment to talk about it right now. You know the love I have for him. He is a friend and I will always wish him the best. Barca is his home, but we're not doing him any favours speaking about [his future], either. Let's leave him in peace to enjoy his time in Paris and wish him all the best.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi famously stepped out of Barca’s La Masia academy system to become a global superstar, with 672 goals recorded for the club through 778 appearances that delivered 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League triumphs.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? A two-year deal at PSG is drawing towards a close, in a season that will also see Messi go in search of World Cup glory, and there is no doubt that he would be welcomed back to Camp Nou with open arms if a deal can be done around the time of his 36th birthday.