Xavi labels Messi return ‘impossible’, rejects comparisons to Barcelona greats Guardiola and Cruyff

MESSI AND XAVI

Xavi acknowledged a Barcelona return for Lionel Messi is “impossible” at present but refused to rule out a reunion in future, as he rejected comparisons between himself and two legendary Blaugrana coaches.

Messi’s 21-year association with Barcelona ended last August when he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer amid the Catalan club’s financial difficulties.

However, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s six league goals during his debut campaign in Paris represented his worst tally since scoring the same amount in LaLiga as an 18-year-old in 2005-06.

Messi has just one year left on his contract in the French capital – although there is an option for a further 12 months with PSG – and Barcelona president Joan Laporta said on Sunday he did not believe the Argentine’s story with Barca was over.

However, his former teammate and current Barcelona coach Xavi told a press conference that such a move was unfeasible, at least for now.

“He has a contract and that’s impossible now,” Xavi said ahead of Barca’s friendly with Juventus in Dallas on Tuesday.

“Messi is the best footballer in the world and in history. The president of Laporta has already said that Messi’s story with Barca is not over, but now is not the time to talk about it.”

On a personal level, Xavi has enjoyed success since returning to Barcelona as head coach last November, guiding the team to second place in the league after slumping to ninth place under predecessor Ronald Koeman.

Barca are expected to challenge for silverware after signing the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, but Xavi insists he is not seeking comparisons with legendary Blaugrana bosses Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff.

“I have no idea to match Pep, I want Barca to win,” he added.

“It’s not a question of ego, I don’t want to beat Pepa, Johan or anyone else. On the contrary, I was brought up by them, I’m their student.

“My dream is to bring Barca back to the top of the world.”

Despite their perilous financial situation, Barcelona have been recruiting heavily during the transfer window and with Sevilla and French defender Jules Kounde also said to be close to joining, their spending does not appear to be stopping anytime soon.

And Xavi believes Lewandowski’s capture demonstrates the lure of the Catalan giants, adding: “It’s not for me, it’s for the club. What I do is speak clearly to the players.”

“It all adds up, but I would say the club is one that has strength, its size is a magnet for footballers.

“People are excited to play at Barca, it shows the fact that players of Lewandowski’s stature want to come.

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