Lionel Messi Gives His Verdict on Xavi’s Return to Barcelona

Lionel Messi and Xavi

Getty Lionel Messi and Xavi celebrate for Barcelona.

Lionel Messi has offered his verdict after seeing former team-mate Xavi Hernandez return to Barcelona to take over from Ronald Koeman as first-team coach at the Camp Nou.

The former captain spoke to Marca about the move and is confident the club legend can help bring success back to the Catalan giants.

“He can contribute a lot. He is a coach who knows a lot, knows the club perfectly and has lived in Barcelona since he was a child,” he said. “He has renewed the illusion in Barcelona because he is a person highly respected by the fans and by the players. He will be a very important coach for the younger footballers because he will teach them. With him the team will grow a lot. I do not have any doubt.”

Messi also took the opportunity to once again reiterate his desire to return to Barcelona at some point in the future. The Argentine has said previously he would like to become the club’s sporting director.

“I always said that at some point I was going to return to Barcelona, ​​because it was my home and I was going to live there,” he added. “I always wanted to try to help the club in whatever way I could and, obviously, if I can contribute and help the club, I would love to come back.”

The Argentine left Barca after two decades and signed for Paris Saint-Germain in August 2021 on a two-year contract with the option for one more year.

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Messi Wished Xavi Luck

Xavi has revealed he received a message from Messi after agreeing to take over the job as Barcelona boss. He told reporters after being unveiled at the Camp Nou that the Argentina international had wished him luck.

“I am of course a great friend with Messi,” he said. “He texted me and wished me the best of luck. I also sent him the best. He’s the best player in football’s history but he’s not here. We have other players who have to make a difference on the field, we can’t think about the players who are not here.”

The duo played together between 2004 and 2015, winning countless titles during a hugely successful era for Barcelona, before Xavi left and moved to Qatari side Al Sadd.

Yet the two players still top the charts when it comes to players with the most appearances for the club.  Messi sits in top spot after making 778 appearances for the Catalan giants, while Xavi is next on 767.

Xavi Off to a Winning Start

Xavi has started life as Barca first-team coach with a 1-0 win over Espanyol in La Liga and faces another crucial game on Tuesday, November 23 in the Champions League at home to Benfica.

The Catalan giants will qualify for the last 16 of Europe’s top competition with a win but know defeat will leave them with a mountain to climb ahead of their final group fixture at Bayern Munich.

Xavi told a pre-match press conference ahead of the game he is expecting a tough contest from the Portuguese side, as reported by the club’s website.

“Tomorrow will be a difficult game, we are facing a great team with a very experienced top coach,” he said. “Benfica are a very physical team with very good forwards. The Champions League game will be intense and played at a fast pace, but we are ready to compete and a win will take us into the last sixteen.”

Benfica were beaten 5-2 by Bayern last time out in the Champions League but have responded well and head to the Camp Nou after comfortable victories over Sporting Braga and Pacos Ferreira in their last two matches.

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