With Barcelona 12 points ahead of Real Madrid in LaLiga, usually the questions would be about if Barcelona believed they had the league wrapped up or if they were going to rotate.
In Xavi Hernandez’s press conference prior to the game away to Elche, things were a little bit different.
Earlier in the day, Barcelona vice president Rafael Yuste admitted that initial contacts were made between the club and the camp of Lionel Messi on a possible return.
While there were a number of rumors linking the Argentina star with his former side, no one at Barcelona had outright admitted anything was in the works. When Joan Laporta’s right-hand man confirms it, naturally it’s going to get people talking.
So it came as no surprise that the Messi links dominated Xavi’s press conference.
"“There is the fair play issue, but more than anything it depends on Leo’s intentions and [if he] wants to come back,” Xavi said.“A lot of conditions have to fall into place for it to happen. He’s won everything in the game, and it will depend on his happiness. If he wants to come back, if that’s his intention, we will speak about it.Source: ESPN"
Xavi’s words may have come across a bit subdued, but he is apparently one of the persons behind-the-scenes who is pushing for Messi’s return.
A potential Messi return would not come without its issues on the pitch. Messi will be 36 by the time next season starts. One thing that has marked Xavi’s Barcelona is their ability to press and track back, something that hasn’t been Messi’s strong suit for a while now.
Should Messi come back, Xavi’s plan is to play him in midfield as the team’s de facto playmaker. No one doubts he can excel but the question then becomes how much will he be able to defend and help in transition. Xavi must believe he has a plan if he’s one of the people pushing for a reunion.
“I hope we see him come home,” Xavi said. “I’m the first person who would love to see the best player ever return. And it is normal that fans are excited about a “Last Dance” like Michael Jordan.”