‘When I see Lionel Messi, I see Barcelona’ – Thierry Henry expects former team-mate to escape whistles at PSG & head back to Camp Nou
- Argentine running down deal in France
- Linked with moves to MLS or Middle East
- Blaugrana working on return to Catalunya
WHAT HAPPENED? Rumours regarding the future intentions of Argentine superstar Messi continue to intensify, with his contract at Paris Saint-Germain running down towards free agency. Various landing spots have been mooted for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner – from MLS to the Middle East – but La Liga champions Barcelona are hoping to have him back on their books for 2023-24. Ex-Blaugrana star Henry can see that happening, with the Frenchman reacting to whistles from PSG fans in the present while speculating on what the short-term future could hold.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Henry, who spent three years alongside Messi at Camp Nou between 2007 and 2010, has told Amazon Prime’s ‘Dimanche Soir Football’ show: “I understand the whistles, but I don’t have to accept them. It’s not the first time they’ve whistled him. People will say that he deserved this or that. But PSG’s problem isn’t Messi. For me, personally, he made me win things that I had been looking to win for a long time. But I come back to the fact that no one should miss a practice. I can understand the whistles because no one should be above an institution. But it has to be like that all the time with the rules. And rarely have I seen a team that becomes champions having players that are whistled at.
“When you miss a training session, you are sanctioned. But the real division is between the fans and the Qatari era. Messi was never a problem, I played with him and he was always a solution. He was a world champion and he didn’t grow old in two months. Yes, he won’t be staying at PSG. I would like him to return to Barca. Because when I see Messi, I see Barca.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi was briefly suspended by PSG after taking in an unauthorised visit to Saudi Arabia, with supporters taking to jeering him again on his return to action against Ajaccio having previously voiced their anger towards the 2022 World Cup winner and Brazil international Neymar during protests at the club’s headquarters.
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WHAT NEXT? Barcelona have admitted to being in talks with Messi’s representatives regarding an emotional return to his spiritual home, with club president Joan Laporta continuing to hint at a stunning deal being put in place despite reports of a £400 million ($501m) contract offer being on the table from Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal.