Lionel Messi back to Barcelona? Xavi and Joan Laporta pushing for possible return


As Barcelona edged past Real Madrid 1-0 on Saturday in Las Vegas, their club president Joan Laporta turned plenty of heads as he brought up Lionel Messi. 

"I hope and wish that the Leo Messi chapter has not ended at Barca," Laporta told ESPN.

"I think it is our responsibility to ensure that this chapter, which is still open and has not been closed, has a moment in which it can be done as it should have been done and that it has a much more splendid one than what it was."

Laporta's comments appear to have real substance behind them too with Spanish outlet Sport also reporting that Barcelona manager Xavi has asked the club president to look into bringing Messi back to Camp Nou for the 2023-24 season. 

According to the report, Xavi believes Messi can help revive the club both on and off the pitch. 

As things stand, the Argentine star will be off contract at the end of this season following two years at PSG and will be free to choose his next destination. 

Messi will be 36 by the time the 2023-24 season begins, however, so any Barcelona reunion may depend on how he holds up in this coming campaign. 

Why did Messi leave Barcelona?

Financial difficulties at Barcelona compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic essentially forced Messi to look elsewhere for a new contract in 2021. 

While the Argentine was reportedly willing to halve his salary to remain, the Catalan club were still not in a position to re-sign him while abiding by La Liga's financial rules. 

"Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalised due to economic and structural obstacles," Barcelona said in a press release on August 5, 2021.

Laporta admitted in March 2022 that the decision to part ways wasn't an easy one but it was in the best interest of Barcelona at the time. 

“If I take stock, it is the saddest decision of all," Laporta told Barca TV. 

"I would never have wanted to take it, I am not sorry either, I think the institution is above all.

"There was a reality and we collided with that reality and we had to make that decision."

MORE: Latest Barcelona transfer news and confirmed summer deals

How did Messi and Xavi perform together at Barcelona?

There are many reasons why Xavi would be keen to bring Messi back to Barcelona with the duo very familiar with one another. 

They played 399 games together at the club during a successful period for Barca in which they won La Liga seven times and the UEFA Champions League four times. 

Xavi and Messi boasted strong chemistry on the pitch with the Argentine scoring 35 goals as a result of passes from the Spaniard. 

A reunion as coach and player would be intriguing and could provide Messi the Barcelona farewell he was denied the first time around. 

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Claudio Darío Rodríguez es productor de contenido en las ediciones en español de The Sporting News.
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Josh is a content producer for The Sporting News Australia.