Barcelona manager Xavi said Leo Messi will decide next week where the Flea will continue his career, adding that the club is still interested in signing the La Masia-raised star if he chooses to return. Messi, 35, will play his final game at Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday before leaving the French champions as a free agent after two years in the City of Light.
Back in April, reports in Europe suggested Messi was considering a very large offer from Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal, although his father, Jorge, denied reports that he had agreed to the deal. David Beckham-owned Inter Miami and Barca are also waiting for his mouth to come out and have also submitted an offer to him, with Barca due to receive approval from La Liga earlier this week to put him under budget control and confirmation that it complies with the Fair Play rules.
"Next week he will make a decision and you – the media – have to leave him alone," Xavi, who played alongside Messi at Barca and speaks to him regularly, told El Mundo Deportivo. "He will decide next week and now there are 200 hypotheses. He will decide his future and here the doors are open, there is no argument. His contract in Paris ends and then he has all the time and respect in the world to say where he's going, where to finish his career."
🚨 Xavi: "Leo Messi will decide his future next week. He has 100% my OK to join us".
"He knows we're ready to welcome him. Nothing has changed, we have chances. We want Leo here. Let him decide. I'm ready to include him in our system", tells Mundo Deportivo. 🔵🔴 #FCB pic.twitter.com/jG75oAXVSn
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 2, 2023
Messi spent 21 years at Barca helping the club win 35 trophies, but left for PSG in August 2021 due to the club's financial crisis. The Argentine midfielder has contributed 21 goals and 20 assists to PSG in all competitions this season. "I think he has the quality to continue playing at a high level and that if he comes to Barca, he will help us a lot," Xavi said. "I'm convinced it will go well."
In December, Messi swept Argentina to the World Cup in Qatar and fulfilled the biggest dream of his career. He was voted FIFA Footballer of the Year in February, for the second time in addition to 7 Ballon d'Or wins.
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"I have no doubts that he can help us a lot in terms of football," Xavi added. "I think we lack the talent he has in the final third of the pitch and Leo always delivers that." After the departures of Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, Xavi said he believed Barca would benefit greatly from Messi leading the team again. "Leo is a natural leader," Xavi said. "He can adapt perfectly to the circumstances. He was captain of the club, he's the best player in history and obviously the greatest player of this club."
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