‘At World Cup saw how good he still is’

‘At World Cup saw how good he still is’

NOS Football

FC Barcelona coach Xavi has polled Lionel Messi for a return. So says the former midfielder in an interview with Spanish newspaper Sport.

Xavi does not think the nearly 36-year-old Messi can no longer keep up at the highest level. “He may have lost a little in terms of explosiveness, but we saw at the World Cup at the end of last year how good he still is,” he said.

It also has no consequences for the style of play, thinks the coach who became champion with Barcelona this year. “It wouldn’t change anything about our way of playing soccer, it’s practically the same,” Xavi said of his former teammate. “Lionel can play in several positions, as a ‘false’ striker, as an outfield player and also in midfield.”

End of contract

Messi had to leave Barcelona in 2021 after 21 years because the club could no longer pay him. Messi announced his departure in tears and moved to French club Paris Saint-Germain, where his contract ended after this season. Earlier this month, Messi was linked with a departure to Saudi Arabia.

However, according to Xavi, Messi is open to a possible return. Vice president of the club Rafael Yuste confirmed two months ago that the Catalans had made initial contacts with his management.

Kayleigh Williams