Lionel Messi may have left Barcelona but the club legend has admitted he watches his former team “whenever” he can and has been impressed by one player in particular.
The Argentine has singled out 17-year-old midfielder Gavi for praise after seeing the youngster break into the first team for club and country this season. The teenager only made his debut in August but has gone on to make 12 appearances already this season for Barca and has caught the eye of Messi.
“Barça has a great squad, they play very well. I watch them whenever I can. Important and very good players have appeared, like Gavi. At a team level they are fine. With the return of Kun and Dembélé, if he returns well, they will be a great help for the team,” he told Diario Sport. “They will always be there because they are one of the best in the world. They is always going to fight for the league and for the objectives, although it may or may not happen later.”
Gavi also made history when he made his international debut in October 2021. The midfielder became Spain’s youngest ever player at the age of 17 years and 62 days.
Messi also revealed he still speaks to many of his teammates regularly despite having left Barcelona and moved to Paris Saint-Germain. He added, “I still often talk to Kun Agüero, who was not my team-mate [on a club level] but is a great friend. With Busi, with Jordi Alba I also speak often.”
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Messi Eyeing Barcelona Return
The former Barcelona captain also made it clear he will return to Barcelona once his time with Paris Saint-Germain has ended. Messi made it clear that his family wants to head home.
“What is almost confirmed, and for sure, is that we are going to live in Barcelona again and that our life will be there,” he said. “It’s what my wife wants and what I want. I do not know when my contract with Paris ends but to live we will return to Barcelona.”
The 34-year-old also appears to be thinking about his plans for when he has finally hung up his boots. Messi explained that he would like to work for the club as their technical secretary.
“I always said that I would love to help the club and be useful. I would love to be a sporting director at some point. I don’t know if it will be in Barcelona or not. Or if it will be something else,” he explained. “If there’s the chance, I would like to go back and contribute what I can because it’s the club I love and I would love them to keep doing well, growing and being one of the best in the world.”
Messi ‘Hurt’ By Laporta’s Comments
Messi also admitted he had been hurt by comments Barcelona president Joan Laporta made saying he had hoped the Argentina international would agree to play for free at the Camp Nou.
The forward had already agreed a 50% paycut, to help the club during it’s financial crisis, and explains that he was willing to do more in order to stay at the club and continue his career with the Catalan giants.
“The truth is, as I explained when I left, I did everything possible to stay. Never at any moment did they ask me to play for free. They asked me to reduce my salary by 50% and I did it without any problem. We were willing to help the club more. My desire and that of my family was to stay in Barcelona,” he said. “No one asked me to play for free, but at the same time the president’s words were inappropriate. It hurt because I don’t think there was any need to say that.”
Messi has made a slow start to life at PSG following his shock move. The Argentine is yet to open his account in Ligue 1 but has scored three goals in the Champions League for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.