Barcelona head coach Xavi wants the media to stop linking Lionel Messi with a return to the club, urging them to ‘leave him in peace’.
Messi left Barça in the summer of 2021 after his contract expired and the club were unable to hand him a new one due to financial restraints. He went on to sign for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
But ever since arriving in France, Messi has been heavily touted to return to Catalonia, and Xavi was again asked about such a prospect ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League trip to Inter.
“With Leo, let’s see, but it’s not the moment to talk about it right now,” he said.
“You know the love I have for him. He is a friend and I will always wish him the best. Barça is his home, but we’re not doing him any favours speaking about [his future], either.
“Let’s leave him in peace to enjoy his time in Paris and wish him all the best.”
Messi’s first year at PSG was rather slow by his own standards, scoring six goals and laying on 14 assists in 26 Ligue 1 games.
His 2022/23 campaign has started much brighter, already grabbing five goals and seven assists.
Barcelona, meanwhile, moved to the top of La Liga’s table after beating Mallorca while rivals Real Madrid could only draw at home to Osasuna.