FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that he has been in direct contact with Lionel Messi regarding a possible second stint at the club.
Messi famously left Barca in tears in 2021 when the Catalans failed to navigate Financial Fair Play rules and offer him a new contract.
This marched Messi directly into Paris Saint Germain’s arms. But with things turning sour in the French capital where the Argentine is routinely booed, and his contract expiring on June 30, Barca’s greatest ever player is linked with a return to his boyhood outfit.
Given Barca have sealed their maiden La Liga crown under Xavi Hernandez – and a first Spanish top flight title in four years – by beating bitter rivals Espanyol on Sunday night, Laporta is in a jubilant mood.
A clip of him vivaciously celebrating the title win with the players in the visitor’s changing room at the RCDE Stadium has gone viral. And in a more relaxed setting on Catalan morning TV on Monday, Laporta revealed that he had been in contact with the seven-time Ballon d’Or holder.
“I have spoken with Leo to, in some way, redirect the situation that occurred when I had to put the institution ahead of everything, including him, the best player in the world,” Laporta told Els matins de TV3.
“We’ve been messaging each other lately. The truth is that the conversation was affectionate and pleasant. I congratulated him on the World Cup – he is back. We have known each other for many years, there is a relationship”, Laporta added.
These fresh remarks come after Laporta explained to Jijantes FC that “we will do everything to bring Messi back” on Sunday night.
In his latest television appearance, Laporta again acknowledged that “we want Messi” but warned Culers that the club will not entertain exorbitant figures to make the deal happen amid their financial difficulties.
“The club is in an austerity plan,” Laporta reminded viewers and fans. “We are working to build a very competitive team next season. We will see if they [La Liga] approve our viability plan.”
Barca will offer Messi a contract of €25 million ($27 million) a year according to SPORT. And though the player’s father and agent Jorge Messi has denied that there is any agreement in place, as have Al-Hilal to Mundo Deportivo, Messi has been reported by El Chiringuito as having already accepted a €350 million ($380 million) offer to head to the Middle East.
In the upcoming months, Laporta and his board have a job on their hands to convince La Liga and the number ’10’ that Messi coming back is the best move for all concerned.
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