Lionel Messi would jump at the chance to return to Barcelona when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the season, according to reports. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is yet to sign a new contract at the Parc des Princes and has been linked with several clubs, including Barcelona, as he continues to stall over a final decision on whether or not to stay in France beyond the end of this season.
At least one meeting has taken place between PSG and Messi’s entourage in recent weeks, with his father Jorge believed to be taking care of negotiations on behalf of the 35-year-old. An agreement to see the winger extend his stay in Paris is yet to be reached, though, leaving his future uncertain with only a few months remaining until his existing deal runs out.
The idea of a romantic return to Barcelona has been floated since the end of last season and it seems as though such a move could be on the cards in the summer, with Messi keen on the prospect of rejoining the Catalan giants after leaving them for PSG two years ago. That’s according to Foot Mercato, who are reporting that a covert transfer meeting has already been held between Barcelona president Joan Laporta and Messi’s father in order to discuss a possible return later this year.
His father has attempted to quell the speculation regarding Messi’s future by hitting out at various rumours on social media, although the report insists that a move back to the Nou Camp has emerged as the player’s preferred option. He is still believed to be at odds with PSG over the financial terms of their latest contract offer and the last few weeks are said to have reinforced his desire to rejoin Barcelona at the earliest opportunity.
JUST IN: Keane lifts lid on what Scholes is really like – ‘I don’t fall for it’
Messi is said to remain happy in Paris as things stand but would reportedly love to sign for Barcelona on a free transfer if the opportunity arises at the end of the season. He remains hugely fond of the club and is said to feel ‘nostalgic’ for the Catalan city, where he often spends his free time when his footballing schedule allows.
It remains to be seen how the situation will play out over the coming weeks and months as Messi continues to mull over his next move, although it seems clear that a return to Barcelona could be a genuine possibility for the 35-year-old when the campaign draws to a close. However, it will likely depend on whether the La Liga leaders would be able to afford Messi’s wages amid their ongoing financial difficulties, which stopped them from keeping him at the Nou Camp before he joined PSG in the summer of 2021.
Laporta recently welcomed the idea of Messi returning to Barcelona by insisting that he would love to see the Argentine hero back at his old stomping ground once again, but refused to make any promises in order to avoid creating false expectations for the club’s supporters.
“It’s obvious that as Barcelona’s president I would like him to return one day to Barca, I would love that, but we can’t generate expectations,” Laporta told Barca TV in December.
“Messi is a PSG player, he has a contract with them. Messi just won the World Cup, Barca are delighted about that, but what I don’t want is to generate expectations [for something] that at the moment is hugely difficult.
“For us, Messi is the best player of all time. We had him here, he developed as a player here. I am convinced he has Barca in his heart and he supports the club. He will always be linked to Barca. If he returns or not as a player? Right now he is a PSG player. We would really like it if he returned, but we will see.”
Want the latest Premier League news as we publish it on Express Sport? Join our Facebook group by clicking here.