Xavi MessiGetty Images

Barcelona's door will always be open to Messi, says Xavi

Barcelona coach Xavi insists that former team-mate Lionel Messi would be welcome back to Camp Nou whenever he wishes.

Messi shocked the world of football when he left Barca after two decades last summer to join Paris Saint-Germain.

The club have struggled without the Argentine, although there have been recent signs under Xavi that they are beginning to turn the corner.

Article continues below

What was said?

"[Messi] is the greatest of all time and he will always have the door open for him at Barca," Xavi told reporters ahead of Sunday's Clasico against Real Madrid.

"As long as I am Barca coach, he is welcome any day. I think we owe him a big tribute.

"I think that as he is under contract with PSG, there is not much we can say. But if he wants to he can come to watch training and speak to the coach. What he has given us is priceless."

The bigger picture

Messi's final season at Barca yielded 38 goals in 45 matches in all competitions, leading the Catalan outfit to victory in the Copa del Rey.

His exit coincided with a dramatic dip in form for the club, who sacked Ronald Koeman from his post in October and replaced the Dutchman with Blaugrana idol Xavi.

The former Spain midfielder took time to adjust to his new post, overseeing elimination from the Champions League.

But he and the club are now finding their groove, winning six of their last seven games to climb into La Liga's Champions League qualification spots and also advance into the quarter finals of the Europa League.

Further reading