Lionel Messi already has a date set to return to FC Barcelona.
The club’s greatest ever player memorably left his boyhood club in tears in the summer of 2021 after president Joan Laporta’s board failed to navigate La Liga’s strict salary cap and offer him fresh terms when what was then believed to be the most lucrative sports contract of all time expired.
Paris Saint Germain were on hand to seize a golden opportunity, and allowed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner to continue his career in the elite by providing him with a two-year deal said to pay him around €30mn ($32.2mn) per season.
On June 30, however, that arrangement also runs down, and Messi’s future is the subject of great interest worlwide.
Some reports put him close to renewing with PSG, amid rumors of a mouthwatering offer from Saudi Arabia, but he has also been linked to Barca.
This week, Messi’s brother Matias went on explosive rant where he scoffed at a potential return to Camp Nou and said that Messi’s entourage would throw Laporta out of the club if it ever happened.
In a press-conference yesterday, Laporta attempted to put the row to bed by saying it didn’t effect the relationship between Messi and the club.
According to MARCA, however, that is “completely broken” and Messi’s only return date would be in June 2026 when Laporta could possibly lose a bid to be re-elected.
By then Messi would be 39 and possibly in the midst of defending Argentina’s World Cup title won in Qatar in December.
He hasn’t shown much interest in becoming a manager, once telling Star+: “I don’t really intend to be a coach, but [ex-Real Madrid manager Zinedine] Zidane said exactly that and, after that, he became a coach and won Champions League three times.”
“I like sporting director, team building, accompanying coaches, but I’m not entirely sure, either,” he added.
It is likely then that Messi takes up one of these roles upon return to his second “home”, where he landed as a shy 13-year-old prospect from Argentina and where his three children were born.
Unless Laporta can mend fences, this will only happen when the smooth talking ex-lawyer and politican is history.