Lionel Messi and Barcelona were synonymous for years, right up to the Argentinean's shock departure in the summer of 2021.
With Barcelona deep in financial trouble, Messi was forced out of the club, and has since played for PSG in Ligue 1, linking up with fellow superstars Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr.
Despite winning the 2021-22 Ligue 1 title, and remaining in 1st place in the 2022-23 standings, the spell at PSG has not brought European success, and they look to be on the verge of exiting the Champions League after a poor first leg against Bayern Munich.
Messi made his feelings clear when departing Barcelona in 2021, and said that he would have preferred to stay in Catalonia. With his contract at PSG up at the end of the current season, and no confirmation that he will stay in the French capital, rumours continue to swirl that Messi could choose to make a spectacular return to the Camp Nou next season.
Neither party have made much noise surrounding the rumours - until now. Ahead of Barcelona's huge Europa League clash with Manchester United on Thursday night, their manager Xavi commented on his former teammate, saying the "door is open" for Messi to return to his "home."
Barcelona: Xavi says Lionel Messi would be welcome "home"
Spanish football reporter Albert Roge shared the quotes from Xavi on Wednesday evening, in which the Barcelona manager suggested he would be keen on bringing Lionel Messi back to the Camp Nou.
Xavi was quoted as saying:
Messi? I've already said that this is his home, and the door is open. He is a friend, we are in contact.
It will depend on him, on what he wants to do in his future. This is your home, there is no doubt. The best footballer in history would always fit in.
Xavi and Messi famously linked up during Barcelona's greatest ever period at the start of the previous decade, winning three Champions Leagues as teammates before Xavi departed the club in 2015.
Messi remains beloved by Barcelona fans and, if a transfer materialises, would return to the club a World Cup winner after finally adding a medal to his collection in Qatar in December.
It remains to be seen where Lionel Messi will be plying his trade in 2023-24, but it's hard not to be swept up by the romance of a potential return to Barcelona.