Sergio Busquets has said of Lionel Messi, “I miss him and I am sure he misses me too”, with the Barcelona midfielder pointing out that he would happily pass a captain’s armband at Camp Nou back to an Argentine icon if an emotional return from Paris Saint-Germain could be put in place.
There has been talk of a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner retracing his steps to Catalunya after spending one frustrating season in the French capital.
Barca boss Xavi has left a door open for Messi to rejoin his ranks, with Busquets making it clear that he would be another to welcome an all-time great with open arms if he decided that a fresh start at Parc des Princes should be cut short.
What has been said?
Another product of the famed La Masia academy system, and one that currently acts as skipper for Barca, has told RAC1: “Messi’s departure was difficult, and it shocked us at first.
“Of course I would like Messi back, but he has a contract with another team. It’s also complicated because of the way he left us. Nobody else has given us what Messi did. I miss him and I am sure he misses me too.
“Xavi said Messi’s doors are open to return. I’ll give him the captaincy, he has my respect and admiration.”
Will Busquets be sticking around?
Barca, who enjoyed a remarkable era of success with home-grown stars under the guidance of Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, are currently in the process of rebuilding for the future.
World Cup winner Busquets remains part of those plans for now, at 33 years of age, and has not ruled out signing a new contract beyond 2023 as he has no desire to play for another team in Europe.
The veteran Spain international has said: “When my contract is over, I will decide what’s the best for me. If I’m good, I would want to stay. If not, I would accept that my time has come.
“I think I can still help the team. I have one more year left in my contract, and I will see what the coach and the club want then. I would never become a problem for Barca.
“I don’t see myself playing for another European team that is not Barca.”
The bigger picture
Barca are in the process of identifying potential midfield additions for the next transfer window, with Ivory Coast international Franck Kessi expected to complete a move to Spain as a free agent once his deal at AC Milan expires.
Busquets said of welcoming added competition through the doors: “Kessie has to fit the manager’s plans.
“I’m happy to add players that will make us better and that want to come. Anyone that adds to us, giving another profile, is much better for us.”