Barcelona manager Xavi has reiterated that Lionel Messi would be welcomed back at the club with open arms.

The 35-year-old joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in August 2021 once it became apparent that Barcelona’s crippling financial woes would prevent them from renewing Messi’s contract.

The Catalan giants are continuing to look for ways to cut costs, though they still managed to conclude significant transfer business over the summer – over €150m was spent to bring in the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde and Raphinha, before wages are taken into account.

Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso also arrived on free transfers, strengthening a Barcelona squad desperate to compete in La Liga and in the Champions League.

Their campaign in the latter competition has already ended with a disastrous group stage elimination, but Barcelona remain committed to returning to their former glory – with a potential Messi reunion rumoured to be among their highest priorities.

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President Joan Laporta has publicly flirted with Messi returning to Barcelona, though Xavi has remained coy on the possibility of a deal being done. However, speaking at a promotional event in Qatar – where Xavi is in attendance for the World Cup – the Spaniard hinted that his former teammate would be welcomed back in a heartbeat.

“He is still number one. Cristiano Ronaldo is still among the 3-5 best on the planet as well,” Xavi said. “If Messi wants to, he can return to Barca at some point, sure. Who wouldn’t like to train him? Any of the greats. In France, Mbappe for example. Neymar, Messi, I would like them a lot.”

Messi’s contract at PSG expires next summer, and 90min understands that Inter Miami are in negotiations with his representatives over a possible switch to MLS.

A number of clubs stateside are exploring the possibility of signing Messi – given his worldwide commercial appeal – but Inter Miami, owned by David Beckham, are confident they have the financial muscle to get a deal done.


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