Barcelona have been described as ‘studying’ ways that they might be able to reunite with Camp Nou icon Lionel Messi next year, having lost him to Paris Saint-Germain in 2021.
Messi joined PSG as a free agent when his last contract at Barca expired. Both sides agreed to an extension, even though the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner had actually asked to leave in 2020, but the club’s poor finances meant they didn’t have the salary cap space to sign him up in La Liga.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta claimed during the summer that “Messi’s chapter is not over”.
He said at the time: “I think it’s our responsibility to try… to find a moment to fix that chapter that’s still open and not closed, so it turns out that it should and has a nicer ending. .
“As president of Barca, I did what I had to do (to let Messi go from a financial point of view). But also as president of Barca and on a personal level I think I owe him.”
Just days later, Laporta stated: “We will make this aspiration a reality” regarding the re-signing of Messi.
Now, Mundo Deportivo have reported that Barça are exploring ways to reunite with Messi, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be as a player.
The ideal route would be to sign him on a free transfer in 2023, although his contract with PSG includes an option for another year until 2024.
In order for him to return in a playing capacity, there must be enough salary cap space, which was evidently not the case in 2021, and he must also complement the new project being built by former teammate Xavi. He may have to accept a reduced salary and a limited role on the pitch after turning 36 next summer.
An alternative, if he decides to hang up his boots, would be to return to Barça as a global ambassador and represent the club off the pitch around the world. But that would only be a secondary plan.
Mundo Deportivo reveal that claims of a recent phone call between Messi and Laporta, which a club source said took place, have been denied by the player’s camp.