Lionel Messi flies to Spain and dines with Barcelona boss Xavi amid PSG uncertainty


Lionel Messi flew to Barcelona on Monday to dine with Blaugrana boss Xavi Hernandez and several of the Catalan club’s star players.

It is believed to be the first time Messi has returned to the city since leaving the club in his high-profile summer transfer to Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

The Argentine was spotted entering a restaurant where Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were also having dinner, while Barca boss Xavi was also in the Japanese eatery.

Alba and Busquets went with their respective partners to the exclusive restaurant in the Catalan capital where Pepe Costa, a former employee of Barca, was also having dinner.

At the end of the dinner, Messi did not want to make any statement to the group of journalists who had assembled at the door of the restaurant.

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Messi paused outside the restaurant to sign a fan's kit but refused to answer questions on his future
Messi paused outside the restaurant to sign a fan’s kit but refused to answer questions on his future

Messi only stopped briefly to sign the Barcelona shirt of a fan, but he did not want to answer any questions from the media about a possible return to the club.

The Argentine’s return to the city coincides with the closing of the January transfer window, although his meeting with his former teammates is not thought to have anything to do with a possible return.

It has been suggested that the dinner was just a casual meeting between friends taking advantage of the permission given by Messi’s PSG coach, Mauricio Pochettino, due to the brief Ligue 1 break.

Barca boss Xavi was dining ahead of his birthday on Tuesday and would have coincided with Messi, whom he starred alongside for the club for a decade.

A group of journalists assembled outside the Japanese restaurant in the city
A group of journalists assembled outside the Japanese restaurant in the city

Messi has struggled for form at PSG – where he has netted just one goal in Ligue 1 since his switch from Barca last year.

The superstar has been hit by minor injury setbacks during his time in the France capital and has also recently recovered from Covid in a season that has, to date, been frustrating for the player.

The 34-year-old has reportedly struggled to adapt to life in the French capital while he also has been surprised by the intensity and physicality of Ligue 1.

The trip to Barcelona comes less than a week after new Blaugrana signing Dani Alves called on Messi to return to the Camp Nou, less than six months after exiting.

Upon his presentation at the club in November, both the Brazilian and club president Joan Laporta talked up the possibility of Messi one day returning to the club.

Last month, former Barca star Luis Suarez claimed that his close friend and former teammate Messi was struggling to adjust to life in Paris, fuelling rumours of a return.

Messi’s contract at the Parc des Princes runs through until the summer of 2023, by which stage he will have celebrated his 36th birthday.


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