Barcelona legend Xavi says it would be best for Lionel Messi to stay at the club until the end of his career after signing a contract extension.
The Argentine star’s future has been the subject of discussion as Barca are yet to confirm his renewal on a deal that expires at the end of the season.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu maintains that the deal has already been signed, saying in September: “the only thing left to do is to take the photograph.”
And this month, La Liga president Javier Tebas clarified that the deal has been processed, telling reporters: “Contracts are official when they are signed and not when it is announced that they have been signed. Messi has signed with Barcelona, if I have not been lied to.”
And Xavi is hopeful that Messi’s extension puts an end to any talk of him leaving Camp Nou.
“We are not sure [if he has signed] as the Barca president said [he has],” he told Goal. “But for me, it’s done. Leo Messi needs Barca and especially Barca need Messi. It would be very good for Barcelona if Messi stayed there for his entire career.
“As a member of Barcelona, I would like Messi to remain at Barcelona for his entire career because we have a better chance of winning titles if he stays at Barca. He is the best player in the history of the game,” he added.
Ernesto Valverde’s side sit top of La Liga after 12 games with a four-point lead over Valencia and a further six ahead of main contenders Real Madrid, much to Xavi’s delight.
“Barca is doing well and of course, they can do better. The beginning of the season has been spectacular for them. I think the team is doing good.”
The former Spain international is currently playing with Qatari side Al Sadd, but was tipped to take over as national team coach in the future by Hassan Al Thawadi, who is leading the organising committee for the 2022 World Cup.
The 37-year-old admitted that the idea could become a reality and hopes to help make the country competitive before they host the competition.
“I’m honoured that Hassan Al Thawadi thinks that I can be the coach of Qatar. Yes, I would like to be a coach but I’m using this time to get my coaching licenses,” he said. “I want to start coaching and yes, it could be one of the options that I coach Qatar. It is an exciting project and I am very grateful to the country. I would like to help in any way for them to be competitive at the World Cup.
“I would like to start here in Doha and maybe later in the national team but what is clear is that I would like to coach and be on the field.”
A four-time Champions League winner with Barcelona and World champion with Spain, Xavi believes he has learned from the best coaches throughout his career.
“Luis Aragones and Pep Guardiola were probably the best coaches I have had. Also, I have worked under Frank Rijkaard, Louis Van Gaal, Luis Enrique and have learnt from all of them. I have enjoyed very much working under them.
“I have had the chance to be with the best coaches in the world. Aragones and Guardiola had a style of football which was attack-minded with possession. Guardiola is now one of the best coaches in the world.”