Barcelona boss Xavi has urged Lionel Messi to “come home” after vice-president Rafa Yuste confirmed they were in contact over a stunning return this summer.
The Spanish club chiefs have started their charm offence as Messi approaches the end of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain, whom he joined on a free transfer in August 2021.
The Argentine star was forced to make the decision to leave Barca after failing to agree a new contract with the club due to their financial woes.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has spoken to the 35-year-old’s father and agent, Jorge, amid a standoff in contract talks with PSG. Now Barca chief Yuste has confirmed that talks regarding a possible return for the forward are under way.
“Leo and his family know the affection we have for them,” the club’s vice-president explained on Friday. “I participated in the [contract] negotiations that in the end did not come to fruition unfortunately and I still have that thorn in my side. Of course I would love to see him return and I am sure that many fans share my feeling.
“I believe beautiful stories in life have to have happy endings and that’s why we are in contact with Messi, of course. When you’re in love with a person, you lose contact but you want to continue being in love and I think Leo is also in love with Barca and the city of Barcelona. I think fate will make it possible. Let’s see if we can have Leo back in Barcelona.”
What will be a stumbling block in the move is Barcelona’s financial issues. LaLiga president Javier Tebas recently told the club they’ll need to reduce their spending by around €150m (£131.9m) in order to sign new players and comply with the league’s economic restrictions this summer.
But Yuste believes bringing Messi back is possible. “There are two months left in which we can work with Tebas and show it’s possible,” he went on to say. “If all the conditions are met, we are open to the possibility. The president [Laporta] has been with Leo’s father, and there is a good relationship.”
Xavi has also weighed in on the speculation ahead of his side’s game with Elche on Saturday.
“There is the fair play issue, but more than anything it depends on Leo’s intentions and [if he wants] to come back,” the former Barca’s midfielder admitted. “If he wants to come back, if that’s his intention, we will speak about it.
“We are friends, we speak often, but it’s not the moment to talk about this, for the good of Leo, the club or the squad. It’s an issue we’re dealing [with], but from that 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 ever return. And it is normal that fans are excited about a ‘Last Dance’ like [with] Michael Jordan.”