Joan Laporta has refused to rule out the possibility that Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta could one day return to Barcelona according to a report in Mundo Deportivo. The Catalan president, back at the club for his second spell, has in the past fortnight welcomed back two other former players in Xavi and Dani Alves.
Speaking at the presentation of the latter this afternoon, Laporta made it clear that Messi and Iniesta would always be welcome at Camp Nou. “I don’t rule it out,” he replied when asked whether they could make a remarkable return.
“Today it’s Dani, tomorrow it could be others. They’re great men who have made the club what it is, and Leo and Andres are two spectacular players. I can’t predict the future. They’re still playing, they’re Barcelona greats, and they’ll always be present with us but they are players with a contract in force with other clubs and that must be respected. But in life you never know.”
Iniesta joined Barcelona at 12 from Albacete, breaking into the first-team at 18 in 2002. He spent 16 years at the club until his departure for Japanese side Vissel Kobe in 2018, winning everything there is to win and becoming one of the greatest midfielders to have ever played the sport. With La Roja, he was at the centre of that all-conquering side that won two European Championships and the World Cup between 2008 and 2012.
Messi is considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of football. The Argentine joined Barcelona from Newell’s Old Boys at 13, breaking into the first-team in 2004. He went on to enjoy 17 gloriously successful seasons in Catalonia, scoring 672 goals and contributing 301 assists in 778 appearances and winning everything there is to win before joining Paris Saint-Germain. Captain of Argentina, he led his beloved country to the Copa America this past summer and has set his sights on repeating the trick at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.