Barcelona are in hot pursuit of a certain Lionel Messi, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. The Argentine does not want to renew his contract with Paris Saint-Germain, and wants to return to Barça.
Joan Laporta and the board have been in talks with Leo over the last few months, with the president also apologising to the player about his exit two seasons ago.
There have been some doubts over Messi’s fit at the club, though, as Barcelona already host of two right-wingers in the form of Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele.
Xavi has confirmed, though, that there would be no problem finding space for the club legend in the team.
“Leo cold play in various positions, as a false 9, winger, interior, even much deeper, comping to make the final pass. Leo has become almost like a midfielder, and he has that ability in the final third,” Xavi said, as quoted by SPORT.
“Perhaps, he has lost his explosiveness, but we also saw Messi was extraordinary in the World Cup. In the end, I think he still has years ahead of him, at a high level. Today, there are not any doubts that he would help us.”
Messi’s defensive contributions
Xavi’s side have built a reputation for themselves as one of the best pressing teams in Europe, and as such, there have been doubts regarding Messi’s potential arrival have included his lack of defensive intensity.
“With the team. Now you cannot expect Dembele to contribute in the defence as much as Kounde. It should be compensated with players. In the end, work and obligations are the same for everyone,” Xavi explained.
“And we have seen it with Lewandowski, world star, who has adapted very well to our high-pressure style, to our ‘pressure after losing possession’, to our mid-block.”
Xavi affirmed that he was sure about Messi’s return to Barcelona, saying, “I am in charge of the football at this club. For me, there is no doubt, that if Leo returns, he’ll help us.”
“We do not have a Barcelona with a talent within reach of 2010, for example. And what would Messi bring to it? Talent. Last pass, set pieces, goals, in the final third, he is a difference maker.”
In conversation with Leo
Xavi has, in the past, confirmed that he is in conversation with Messi regarding a potential move, and was asked about the same again. To this, he replied, “Yes, I’m talking to him.”
“It is true that we have already won in the post-Messi era and that has extraordinary merit. The same is not valued, but the fear that we cules had was when Leo leaves, what will we do?”, the gaffer added.
“Well, Barcelona has survived. I think we have rebuilt the team very well. The group and this La Liga and Supercopa have spectacular merit without the best player in the history of this club and football.”
While Messi has not made any decision yet, Xavi is well informed that convincing him to rejoin Barcelona will not be the easiest thing. The player has a massive offer from Al-Hilal, and could join them, according to reports.
“It is difficult to put yourself in the shoes of a player who has won everything. It is difficult, right? I do not know what doubts I could have.”
“Perhaps, that is a new project, that important players and good friends such as Busquets and Jordi are leaving. I don’t know, I’m not in his head,” Xavi quizzed hypothetically.
Eventually he ended this conversation on a positive note, saying, “Here, Leo has the doors open. If he wants to come, I have no doubts as a coach, none. I think he would bring a lot for us.”