Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi says he is open to returning to Barcelona adding that he ‘speaks frequently’ to the new Camp Nou coach Xavi.
“I speak often with Xavi. Since ever. We are friends, we have shared many things and since he left we have kept in touch,” he says.
However, Messi did not specify if he would make his grand return to his boyhood club as a coach or a player. He spoke to Marca after Barcelona president Joan Laporta said he is hopeful the Argentine international would return to the Catalan club.
Laporta exuded hope in Iniesta making a return to the club. Messi in the interview asked what Laporta meant at the time further asking if his return to Barca would be as a player or coach.
This force Marca interviewer to respond saying that the Catalan club boss did not specify: “He [Laporta] did not specify that at the time, although he later said in a later interview that it would not be to be part of the team.”
The 33-year-old retorted he will at some point return to Barcelona because ‘it is home’ and he looks forward to leaving there. He added that he would be happy to make a positive contribution to the club.
Is Xavi’s Relationship With Messi Rosy?
Both Messi and Xavi enjoy a cordial relationship having played together at Campo Nou and won numerous trophies. The PSG player maintains Xavi is the right pick for Barcelona.
Messi says the new coach can contribute a lot because he knows a lot. He explains that Xavi knows La Masia perfectly and has lived in Barcelona since he was a child. He has renewed his belief in Barcelona because he is a person highly respected by the fans and by the players.
Further, that his support will be important for the younger footballers since he is knowledgeable. With him [Xavi] the team will grow a lot, Messi maintained adding “I do not have any doubt.”
Messi, Laporta Verbal Drama
Towards the end of October, Laporta appeared on Rac1 and made statements that rubbed his former star player the wrong way.
Laporta recently told RAC1 that he had hoped Messi would turn down PSG’s charm but he didn’t. “I hoped Messi would do a U-turn and he would say he would play for free.”
The Barca boss said he would have liked that would have been all for it. But, his understanding of La Liga is that this would have been accepted. However, it would be unfair for the club to ask a player of Messi’s stature to play for free.
Laporta said in light of the club’s financial situation, Messi could have stayed if he forfeited a weekly salary.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner said this statement by Laporta was hurtful and insensitive. Messi said that he was never asked to play for the club for free.
The 34-year-old said what is hurting him more is the fact that the Camp Nou boss doubts his character. He adds that Laporta is running away from responsibility yet he (Messi) did all he could to stay at Barca.
“The truth is that, as I explained on my way out, I did everything possible to stay, never at any time was I asked to play for free,” the Argentine forward told Sport.
Remarkably, Messi played for Barca for the last 21 years – since his teenage days – and had hoped to retire there. But the club’s financial mess was not a great sign in the future for him.
He disclosed that the club asked him to take a 50 per cent salary cut which he did without any problem. They were all in a position to help the club more, he adds noting that his desire and his family was to stay in Barcelona.
Messi Responds to Laporta’s Hurtful Comment
While responding to Laporta, Messi said that nobody asked him to play for free. At the same time, it seemed to him that the words said by the president were out of place. They hurt him because ‘he shouldn’t have said that.
He likened Laporta’s comments to getting the ball off and not assuming its consequences or taking charge of things. The Argentine noted that such comments make people have lots of doubt about him.