Lionel Messi responds to idea of Barcelona return after “surprise” at Dani Alves move

The Argentine forward moved to Paris Saint-Germain over the summer in a shock transfer, nearly 17 years after making the first of more than 750 senior appearances for Barcelona

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  • 10:16, 23 Nov 2021
  • Updated10:38, 23 Nov 2021
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The idea of returning heroes has been a big discussion point at Barcelona this season, with Xavi and Dani Alves both coming back to Camp Nou.

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Xavi has joined as manager, replacing another former Barca favourite in Ronald Koeman, and won his first league game in charge with a 1-0 derby victory over Espanyol.

Alves, meanwhile, agreed to return to Camp Nou after a spell in Brazil with Sao Paulo and will be available to play under former captain Xavi from January onwards.

With the idea of returns in the air, it feels inevitable that Lionel Messi has been asked about the prospect of rejoining his former club, despite less than a year having passed since he left for Paris Saint-Germain.

Can you see Messi returning to Barcelona? Have your say in the comments section

Messi moved to PSG from Barcelona in the close-season
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Image:
NurPhoto/PA Images)

When Alves agreed to return to Barcelona at the age of 38, club president Joan Laporta appeared to open the door for Messi to follow suit.

"Leo and Andres [Iniesta] are two spectacular players," Laporta said.

"I can't predict the future. They are Barca greats and who made this club what it is and they will always be present, but they're players with contracts with other clubs.

"That must be respected, but in life you never know."

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Messi was asked by Marca about Laporta's comments, as well as the president's suggestion that a return to Camp Nou for him or for Vissel Kobe midfielder Iniesta would likely not come as a player.

"I always said that at some point I will return to Barcelona because it is my home and because I am going to live there," Messi said.

"And obviously if I can contribute and help the club I would love to come back."

Messi and Dani Alves won multiple trophies together at Barcelona
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Image:
AFP/Getty Images)

Messi also admitted he was surprised by the return of Alves, his teammate in the 2009, 2011 and 2015 Champions League triumphs.

The Brazilian left Barcelona in 2016, playing for Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain before his Sao Paulo stint, but has remained part of the Brazil set-up and represented his country at the Olympic Games in Tokyo earlier this year.

"The truth is that his return surprised me, especially at the moment," Messi said.

Alves has returned to Barcelona after more than five years away
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Image:
NurPhoto/PA Images)

"I think it can be a good addition, just as in the case of Xavi it can be important for young people. He is going to help them grow because he is a winning person and transmits a lot.

"He will do it with young people, both in games and in training. Because he is also going to contribute a lot off the court with his daily work, commitment and the desire that he always has to win."

Despite the victory in Xavi's first game, Barcelona remain down in seventh place in La Liga, six points outside the Champions League places.

They have endured a difficult season, with previous manager Koeman dismissed after a run of poor results and new signing Sergio Aguero expected to announce his retirement due to a heart issue.

Xavi has got off to a good start, though, and can secure his team's progress to the Champions League knockout stages with a midweek victory over Benfica.

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