Barcelona to hold talks on Messi’s future after La Liga triumph

    Barcelona head coach Xavi was taken aback by the question of Lionel Messi and Bruce Springsteen on Friday, but said the club would discuss Messi’s potential move after they win the title.

    Springsteen plays concerts at Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium on Fridays and Sundays, and many blue garnet fans would love to see Messi play his greatest hits again in the city next season.

    Messi’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired at the end of the campaign and there are rumors that Barça could try to bring him back to the club where he scored 672 goals in 780 games.

    At a press conference ahead of Saturday’s La Liga game against Real Betis, a journalist asked Xavi if he would see Messi at the concert.

    “I don’t understand this metaphor,” he said, laughing. “We don’t know if this will happen to Leo or not. It’s very soon. We are focused on Betis and winning this league will give us more stability. We will talk about possible signings when we win La Liga.

    “For Bruce’s sake, I’d like to go, but I don’t have tickets!”

    Reports said the club would meet with La Liga officials to discuss the possibility of Messi returning given Barca’s current financial troubles, but Xavi said the discussion would be broader than just around the Argentine.

    “This is not only about the possible arrival of Leo, but also to improve the squad for next year,” he said. “It’s not an important issue, you need to win the league. Mateu (Alemany, sporting director of the club) keeps us informed and in theory everything is going well.”

    With Barça leading La Liga by 11 points and seven games remaining despite a 2-1 loss to Rayo Vallecano last time, Xavi disputed the notion that the season was long, suggesting last year it was felt longer when they finished 13 points behind the champions. Real Madrid.

    “I don’t understand why you say it’s dragging on,” he told the reporter. “Last season it was an eternity. Now I look at the table and rejoice. Sometimes I don’t understand it. I’m having a good time in this league. Who wouldn’t sign up for this?

    “The other day we played the worst game of the season, but tomorrow there will be a good opportunity and there is hope of winning. It was a long time last year.”

    Of the defeat at Rayo Vallecano, he added: “Madrid lost the day before (4-2 in Girona) and that happens. You won’t always be outstanding, that’s a sport. What you need to do is react tomorrow and return to our game model and values. You don’t need to look back.”

    On Friday, Barcelona confirmed that Andreas Christensen and Ousmane Dembele would return to the squad after recovering from injuries, much to Xavi’s delight.

    Of Dembele, he said: “The injury was in an area that was harder to heal. He is fine and happy. Let’s see if we play with him at the start or as a substitute, but for us this is very important news.

    “We missed him. He is the best one-on-one footballer, there are few like him in the world. Ask La Liga full-backs who they prefer. He’s a speed player, he’s a differential. It makes sense that we missed it.”

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