BARCELONA

PSG: Messi says no to Barcelona return to rejoin Alves and Xavi

AS understands Leo Messi has no intention of leaving PSG before his contract expires to return to Barcelona despite Joan Laporta suggesting he might.

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PSG: Messi says no to Barcelona return
FRANCK FIFE AFP

Leo Messi is not planning a return to Barcelona, AS has learned. “I’m not ruling out Messi and Iniesta coming back,” Camp Nou president Joan Laporta suggested during Dani Alves’ presentation, although he later conditioned his statement by adding “although I think as players is not a possibility.” There has been speculation that with the arrival of Xavi as manager of the club and the return of Alves five years after he left for Juventus, Messi and Iniesta may be tempted by the prospect of getting the Barça band back together. However, it seems Messi is determined to taste success with PSG, where he has a deal until 2023 with the option of an extra year, while Iniesta seems in little hurry to leave Vissel Kobe.

Catalan daily Sport stated on Sunday that Messi’s plan is to try and help PSG to win the Champions League before heading to the 2022 World Cup in peak form, for what will in all likelihood be his final tilt at football’s biggest prize with Argentina. “Messi is focused on a tough season [with PSG] with the hope that success on the pitch will compensate for his sacrifices,” Sport reported, adding: “Leo has a sense of pride and is not thinking about going back [to Barcelona].

Messi, Neymar, Mbappé starting to click

After a difficult start to his PSG career as he adapted to a new league after spending his entire career at Barça and struggled with injury, Messi has found his feet under Mauricio Pochettino. On Saturday he opened his Ligue 1 account in the victory over Nantes and he has four in all competitions after scoring key goals in the Champions League. Furthermore, the much-vaunted attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé has started to show promising signs. “I’m very happy to have scored my first goal. We created a lot of chances. We didn’t show any fear but the result was a little while in coming for us. I’m happy to have got off the mark in Ligue 1,” Messi said after the game.

Messi: "I want to focus on PSG"

Messi also addressed the rumours around a return to Barcelona last week, after Argentina sealed their spot at the 2022 World Cup. “Now it’s time to change the chip because I still want to help achieve all the objectives we have set ourselves at PSG and I want to focus on that and work hard to make it happen.”

AS reported recently that Messi and his family are now completely settled in Paris, having found a home and a school for Messi’s children. It appears that despite his early concerns, the Argentina captain is happy at PSG and has no intention of leaving Paris, whatever comes to pass at his former club.