The football superstar Lionel Messi has been reportedly set for a shock return to Barcelona next summer when his PSG deal expired.
The Argentine magician, 35, is expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the current 2022/23 season, according to a ‘close friend’ of Messi’s family.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner joined PSG after Barca released a statement saying he would be leaving due to financial restrictions placed upon them by LaLiga.
However, Messi – who joined PSG in 2021- will reportedly return to Barcelona when his contract in the French capital expires next summer.
Argentinian journalist Veronica Brunati took to Twitter to drop the bombshell news on Tuesday afternoon, simply writing: “July 1, 2023, Lionel #Messi will be a Barça player,” according to dailymail report.
Italian football journalist Tancredi Palmer responded to the news by tweeting: “According to Argentinian journalist @verobrunati and close friend of Messi’s family, next July Messi will join back Barcelona!”
Messi has less than 12 months remaining on his current PSG contract, with the option of extending his deal by an additional year.
But it appears the diminutive No.10 has his sights set on a return to his boyhood club on a free transfer.
It is believed Messi will return to the club after ‘making peace’ with Barcelona president Joan Laporta – who was at the centre of the controversy two years ago.
Messi became a free agent in 2021 after his contract with Barca expired. However, he was set to re-sign with the club following positive initial talks between all parties.
However, Barca dropped a bombshell statement confirming Messi would be leaving due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations).
The statement read: ‘Despite having reached an agreement between FC Barcelona and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations).
‘Given this situation, Lionel Messi will not continue linked to FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of both the player and the Club cannot finally be fulfilled.
‘Barca would like to thank with all its heart the player’s contribution to the enhancement of the institution and wishes him the best in his personal and professional life.’
Messi was said to be shocked by the announcement as he had agreed to take a 50 per cent pay deduction from his previous deal – which was worth in excess of £425million over four years – in order to stay at the club.
This would have meant that Messi’s earnings would have been slashed by £250,000 every week on the proposed new five-year contract. However, he agreed.
Messi – who was heart broken by the news of his departure – had been heavily linked with both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain as a result.
PSG seemed like the more likely destination as Messi had met up with his former team-mate and close friend Neymar just days before Barcelona released their statement.