Following their 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, Barcelona bosses have made their stance on Lionel Messi clear.
The Paris Saint-Germain star looks set to extend his stay in the French capital despite reports that Barcelona manager Xavi is keen to bring him back to the Camp Nou.
Messi spent his entire career at Barcelona before leaving in 2020, scoring a club record 672 goals.
However, his first season with PSG was far from a success as he finished the campaign with just 11 goals – his lowest personal output in over 15 years.
The La Liga giants are reportedly working hard to secure the signature of their former captain, with both Xavi and president Joan Laporta still dreaming of a sensational return to Camp Nou.
Laporta was president of Barcelona when the club won the Champions League in 2009, with Messi scoring both goals against Manchester United in the final.
The 60-year-old was re-elected shortly after Messi’s departure and has made clear his desire for the Argentine to return to the club.
“For Barca, he was perhaps the greatest player, the most effective. For me, he’s only comparable to Johan Cruyff,” he said, according to the Mirror.
“But one day it was bound to happen. We had to make a decision as a result of what we inherited. The institution is under the supervision of players and coaches.
“I hope that the chapter about Messi is not over. I think it’s our responsibility to try … to find a moment to fix this chapter that’s still open and not closed, so that it turns out the way it should and has a nicer ending.”
Speaking about the deft dribbler, Xavi made no secret of his ambitions, saying he would love to see Messi in Braco’s shirt again.
“I would like to think that Messi’s time at the club is not over, let alone how it happened,” Xavi told Metro.
“I think he deserves a second chance or another chance to show that he can leave the club and that he was the best player ever.
“We will talk about it from next year. But the question is, would I want to, the answer is yes.”
However, with Messi’s current deal in Paris set to expire in the summer of 2023, he looks set to stay at PSG given his return to form.
He has three goals and seven assists in Ligue 1 this season as Christophe Gaultier’s side top the table after winning six of their opening seven games.
Main image: Lionel Messi/MetroUK