According to his former Barcelona team-mate Xavi, Lionel Messi, the Blaugrana legend has plenty left in the tank and will travel to Qatar with his nation until he is nearly 40.

This season’s six-time Ballon d’Or winner, 32, was in typically stellar form for Barca, scoring 24 goals in all competitions before the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to the proceedings.

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Messi may never have been so critical to the overall chances of success of the Blaugrana, and Xavi feels that Argentina’s superstar has plenty left in the tank – both club and international.

“He probably has five or seven really strong years left in him,” Xavi said of Messi during an Instagram talk with Samuel Eto’o, another ex-Barca player.

“He’s taking good care of himself so he will keep playing until he’s 37, 38, or 39. I’m sure he’ll be playing at the Qatar World Cup.” Once Messi achieves such durability standards, Xavi seems to have expected to take control of him as head coach.

“It wasn’t the right moment in January,” Xavi said, repeating remarks made earlier this year about the matter. “I had talks with Eric Abidal and Oscar Grau and a huge offer, but it wasn’t the right moment. I need a little more practice.”

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“Footballing wise, no wonder he’s among the world’s best three or five stars,” Xavi said. “He will make a difference. Let’s hope he’s going back to Barcelona. I’m a fan of Barcelona and I want the best players there.”

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