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Rumor has it that Lionel Messi wants to return to FC Barcelona this summer after less than a single season at Paris Saint Germain.
Booed by his own fans on Sunday as the Ligue 1 giants beat Bordeaux 3-0, the Argentine reportedly had his father and agent Jorge Messi call the Barca board a few days ago to explore the possibility of starting a sensational second chapter at Camp Nou.
As ridiculous as this may sound, though, it is fair to ask whether coach Xavi Hernandez would want Messi back in the first place.
The pair of course share some of Barca’s greatest history together as teammates in various sides that could lay claim to being the best club outfits of all time across the mid-00s to mid-2010s.
Under managers such as Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, they lifted no fewer than four of Barca’s five Champions League titles side by side and countless domestic crowns.
But there were whispers in Catalonia that now-first team manager Xavi didn’t want to take over the reins from Ronald Koeman until Messi was out of the way, which he did once the iconic number 10 left for PSG as a free agent ahead of the current campaign.
As recent as this weekend, local paper Sport said that a “return to the past would complicate Xavi’s life and would be short-term”, with Mundo Deportivo agreeing that the new coach has “changed the dynamics” at the club “due to the absence of counterpower in the locker room” from heavyweights such as Messi.
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Maybe the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who now needs Barca more than Barca need him, would come back with his tail between his legs and take a backseat to supposedly calling the shots as he did under the likes of Koeman and Ernesto Valverde.
But Xavi already has a young, well-focused team on his hands with a sprinkling of veterans that tow the line. He has begun to rebuild the Blaugrana in the post-Messi era and is doing a sterling job at that. Going back to square one to cater for Messi could be disruptive.
Simultaneously, maybe it is not Xavi who gets the last word either. But from what you can gather from his and the president Joan Laporta’s remarks to the press, it seems that Xavi is pretty active in transfer policy and any potential approach would have to get his approval.
Despite a close on-field and off-field friendship with Messi spanning over a decade, Xavi might be in two minds as to whether a reunion while the fading 34-year-old is still plying his trade, and starting a play-coach relationship, is a good idea.