Lionel Messi has reportedly laid down the one condition Barcelona have to meet if they want him to return to Camp Nou this summer.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is edging closer to a return to the Catalan club just two years after leaving due to an expiring contract at the Paris-based club.
Messi has two months left on his deal with PSG and can walk away for free this summer unless he performs a remarkable turnaround and commits to a new contract at Parc des Princes.
But the signs indicate that he is on his way back to Spain, with Barcelona and La Liga chiefs working overtime to see that they get the deal over the line.
However, according to reports in Spain, for that to happen, Messi has asked Barcelona to extend the contract of head coach Xavi Hernadez.
Xavi became the permanent manager of the Blaugrana in November 2021 after the club sacked Ronald Koeman following an underwhelming start to the season. The club legend has done a great job reviving the squad and taking Barcelona to the cusp of winning their first La Liga title in four years, thanks to an eleven-point lead over Real Madrid.
However, the former Spain midfielder’s contract at Barcelona will expire next year, but Messi wants his stay extended, as he’s keen to join forces with him in the foreseeable future.
Earlier, it was reported that Messi had also requested that his former teammates, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, be kept at the club beyond this summer.
But it remains to be seen if Barca will honour his purported requests as it appears the club will have to sell some of their players and lighten their wage bill to make room for the legend. In addition, veterans like Busquets and Alba could be offloaded to lighten the wage bill. At the same time, youngsters like Ansu Fati and Gavi could be sold to generate the funds to facilitate Messi’s return.