Now that Paris Saint-Germain’s 2022-23 season is over, FC Barcelona can openly talk about targeting Lionel Messi, not that they have been doing so already.
Nonetheless, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernández revealed before the squad’s contest against Celta Vigo on Sunday at the Estadio de Balaídos that the Spanish club is going after Messi and a defensive midfielder.
“The priorities are very clear, I would really like Messi to return,” Xavi said in a news conference (h/t ESPN). “[Messi] knows that and I have spoken with him. From there, Leo aside, the other priority is a midfielder [to replace Busquets] in the ideal scenario.
“I can’t give names really, but the club know my priorities and also the targets. I have been very clear. There are names and positions are in place depending on different scenarios.”
Messi and PSG announced on Saturday that the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner will leave the capital club once his contract expires on June 30. However, the Argentine will likely decide soon where to play in the 2023-24 season.
While Barcelona intends to target Messi this summer, they might be setting up their supporters for disappointment. SPORT reported on Saturday that Al-Hilal expects to announce the signing of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner on Tuesday, June 6.
If the Spanish reporting is accurate, it’s a major letdown for the Catalan side that kept talking about Messi’s return, only for the ex-PSG star to head to Saudi Arabia.