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Exclusive: Ex-Spain fullback Torres predicts positive future for Barcelona & hopes Messi stays

Curro Torres insists Barcelona possess a young talented squad capable of competing Europe once again.

The Blaugrana were demolished by PSG in this season's Champions League last-16.

The first leg at Camp Nou saw Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick secure a 4-1 win for the visitors, with the second leg ending in a 1-1 draw.

It was a reminder to Barca how far they had fallen off Europe's elite in recent seasons.

But since then, Ronald Koeman's side has shown plenty of spirit in La Liga and have caught up with leaders Atletico Madrid.

What has also excited Barca fans is the emergence of young stars Pedri, Oscar Mingueza, Sergino Dest, Illaix Moriba and Riqui Puig as valuable first-team players.

And former Spain right-back Torres - who won two La Liga titles with Valencia - believes Barca have cause for optimism despite the PSG defeat.

"I think the current Barcelona team is quite young now and still lacking the experience at top level," he told "PSG is a team that is full formed with some truly great players and with experience at top level too.

"With time, the current Barcelona squad will mature and will be ready to compete at the top level again in La Liga and the Champions League especially."

One looming cloud over Catalonia is the future of Lionel Messi.

The Argentine will be a free agent at the end of the season and it is unclear whether he will follow through with his desire to leave the only club he has ever played for.

For Torres, he hopes the best player he has ever faced decides to stay at Barca.

"For La Liga and Spanish football, I really hope that Messi signs a new contract with Barcelona," Torres.

"As a fan of football, it's a joy to watch him play every weekend. In my time as a player, he is the best player in the world that I have played against."

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