Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona last year came as a huge shock to the footballing community. There were very few who would have imagined that the Argentine would not end his career at Spotify Camp Nou.
But the club’s wage bill situation and La Liga’s strict Financial Fair Play rules meant that Barça were unable to renew Messi’s expired contract and he eventually ended up signing for Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year contract.
However, now that his contract with the Parisians will expire in less than a year, a return to Barcelona is being mooted heavily for Messi. President Joan Laporta has admitted that the Argentine superstar’s chapter at the club is not over while manager Xavi is also said to be open to his return.
So much so that, Mundo Deportivo is now reporting that Barça are studying the best possible ways to mend their relationship with Messi so that they can re-sign him in the summer of 2023.
The relationship between the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and Laporta deteriorated after the former’s exit from the club was handled. However, the club are intent on amending that and are looking at several options to make things right.
Starting from re-signing him next year, to the possibility of making him an ambassador of the club or giving him a great tribute – all options are on the table currently.
While the club would welcome the chance of re-signing the Argentina captain, they need to study several factors before making such a move, like the cost of operation involved, whether there is enough space on the wage bill to accommodate him and the team’s tactics to include him.
After all, Barça will be operating on a tight spending limit next season with no levers to activate. Furthermore, Xavi is building a team for the future and the club would need to ensure that the development is not halted either.
The report states that Laporta is extremely motivated to bring Messi back to the club and has made it a challenge for himself. The Barça president believes that he has let down the ex-captain as he had promised to extend his contract but could not do so because of the salary limit.
PSG, though, are unlikely to give in easily as they are ‘crazy’ about renewing the 35-year-old’s contract.
It is further stated that there are signs of improvement in the relationship between Laporta and Messi. There have been exchanges of messages even though the superstar’s camp denies it and meetings between parties have taken place to study the possibility of a return.
However, the Catalans are not in a position to pay Messi’s current wages that he earns at PSG and he would have to accept a pay cut if he is to return to Camp Nou. Furthermore, the 35-year-old would also have to accept a secondary role in the team at times as Barça build toward the future.
At the same time, the report also adds that Barcelona are also planning to give Messi a tribute he richly deserves for everything he did for the club over the past two decades.
They would want to keep him linked to the club in a role such as the Global Ambassador although the report states that the Argentine would prefer a position as the Technical Secretariat.
All said and done, efforts are being made to secure Messi’s return to Barcelona one way or the other and it remains to be seen if it materialises come 2023.