Madrid, June 2 (IANS) FC Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez continues to insist that he wants Leo Messi to play for the club next season.
Speaking to the El Mundo Deportivo newspaper, Xavi spoke about the Argentinean’s possible return to Barcelona, despite strong rumors that Messi will play in Saudi Arabia as Barca will not be able to fit his wages into their tight wage ceiling, a Xinhua report said.
“I have already said many times, he has the doors open here, I am the coach and I know that he will help us if he decides to come,” said Xavi, who added that Messi had to conclude his contract with Paris Saint Germain.
“He has a lot of respect for Paris Saint-Germain, he wants to finish there in the best way. His contract is coming to an end and he has earned all the right in the world to say where he wants to go, where to end his career,” he added.
Xavi insisted that the “doors are open” for Messi, saying he had “no doubts” about the ability of a player, who will be 36 later this month, to continue at the highest level.
“It depends on him, for me there are no doubts. If Leo decides to come, he has the doors open at the football level. I know he will help us,” he said.
The coach added that contract issues were “not my concern,” but added that the club had told him that questions about Messi’s contract were under control: “According to what they tell me, yes.” He insisted.
The departure of veterans, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba at the end of the season and Gerard Pique’s retirement in mid-season have lowered Barca’s wage bill, but whether that will be enough remains to be seen.
Although Xavi would undoubtedly like to have Messi back at the club, his words could also be seen as an effort to shift any blame onto the Argentine and away from FC Barcelona, if Messi decides to move elsewhere next season.