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Xavi: 'Doors are open for Lionel Messi to return to Barcelona'

Xavi: 'Doors are open for Lionel Messi to return to Barcelona'
© Reuters
Barcelona head coach Xavi says that 'the doors are open' for Lionel Messi to return to the club amid the speculation surrounding his future.

Barcelona head coach Xavi has said that 'the doors are open' for Lionel Messi to return to the Catalan giants this summer.

The 35-year-old's future is currently the subject of much speculation, as his contract with Paris Saint-Germain is due to expire at the end of June.

Shortly after helping Argentina win the 2022 World Cup, various reports claimed that talks with PSG over an extension had been positive, with the French champions confident that they would be able to sign him to a new 12-month contract.

However, a recent report claimed that Messi is now learning towards leaving the capital outfit on a free transfer when his deal expires at the end of June.

The forward has been linked with a switch to MLS, while a number of Saudi Arabian clubs are believed to be keeping a close eye on the situation.

Argentina's Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup trophy after collecting the Golden Ball award on December 18, 2022© Reuters

An emotional return to Barcelona has also been mentioned as a possible outcome to the contract scenario, and the Catalan side's head coach Xavi was asked about his former teammate ahead of Thursday's Europa League knockout round playoff second leg with Manchester United.

"For Messi, this is his home, he has the doors open. He is a friend and we are in permanent contact. His return depends on him," Xavi told reporters.

The Barcelona boss was also quizzed on whether there would be a spot open in the team at Camp Nou for the club's legendary attacker.

"Of course, he's the best player in the world. The best player in history. He would always fit in the team," added the 43-year-old.

Lionel Messi in action for Paris Saint-Germain on September 10, 2022© Reuters

Barcelona's financial problems led to Messi leaving Camp Nou on a free transfer in the summer of 2021.

The Argentine penned a two-year agreement with PSG, and he has represented the club on 61 occasions in all competitions, scoring 27 goals and contributing 29 assists in the process.

This season, the forward has netted 16 times and registered 14 assists in 27 matches for the Paris giants.

Speaking towards the end of last year, Barcelona president Joan Laporta admitted that it would be "very difficult" for the club to re-sign Messi.

"On the subject of Messi, we can't generate expectations. Messi is a PSG player and has a contract with them. He has won the World Cup and the Cules have been very happy," Laporta told BarcaTV.

"What I don't want to do is generate expectations that at the moment are very difficult."

Messi scored 672 goals and registered 302 assists in 777 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions, winning 10 La Liga crowns, seven Copa del Rey trophies and four Champions League titles.

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Argentina's Lionel Messi pictured on November 22, 2022
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