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Gary Lineker talks Messi, Xavi, Pedri, Johan Cruyff, Real Madrid

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Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Former Barcelona centre-forward Gary Lineker has admitted that it would be very special to see Lionel Messi return to Spotify Camp Nou for another spell at the club.

Lineker was speaking at Camp Nou Auditori 1899, after receiving the XV Manuel Vazquez Montalban International Journalism Award for sports journalism.

During his interactions, the ex-Barcelona striker spoke about the club and the possibility of Messi’s return. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has been linked with a move back to Barça, as his contract with PSG expires next year. And Lineker would love to see it happen.

As quoted by Mundo Deportivo, Lineker said: “I hope so, it’s a dream I have. Maybe he could come back for a year. I would love to see him, it would be very special because the way Messi left the club was very sad. For me as a fan and for him too.”

The former England international also professed his admiration for Barcelona midfield prodigy Pedri, saying: “I love him, he’s a special player. He’s an exceptional and different player. He has almost everything. He’s not Messi but…” 

The former striker, who spent three years at Barça between 1986 and 1989, also gave his verdict on the job that current manager Xavi Hernandez is doing at the club currently.

“It’s early but I see the team well because Barça have some very good young players. Being a Barça manager is difficult because they are one of the biggest clubs in the world but I think Xavi has he has done well and is improving. It is difficult to change everything quickly.”

Lineker admitted that it was a shame that Barcelona could soon crash out of the UEFA Champions League, but backed them to do well in La Liga.

“It is a pity about the Champions League but perhaps after the World Cup, the players are very tired, and not playing it could be an advantage for LaLiga. They have Gavi, Pedri, Ansu, Araujo…”

Talking about his time at Barcelona and playing under Johan Cruyff, who deployed him out wide even though Lineker was a striker, he said:

“I had no problem with Johan Cruyff, he was a great coach. It was a difficult year because I played on the flanks but nothing happened, you had to do it for the team. He was one of the best coaches of all time, a good person.”

Lineker also talked about Barcelona’s arch-rivals, Real Madrid, and their exploits in the Champions League, saying:

“They are a phenomenon, what they have done in the Champions League for years without losing a final… For me they are lucky, but what is important is that Real Madrid know how to win. Sometimes I don’t see a squad as special as in the past but they keep winning”.

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