Barcelona president Joan Laporta recently fanned speculation regarding a possible shock return to the club for Catalan legend Lionel Messi.

Messi left the club in August 2021 after Barcelona’s much-publicised financial struggles which prevented them from re-signing the club icon.

Needless to say, after spending 21 years at the club it wasn’t how fans and Messi himself envisioned leaving the club.

Ever since his Barca exit, fans have clamoured for his return to the club but that seemed highly unlikely considering the Catalans’ financial challenges coupled with the fact that the Argentine superstar had signed a two-year contract to represent French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

However, a lot has changed since his exit from Barca. Not only has Barcelona’s financial situation improved two years after their economical turmoil, but Messi is also nearing the end of his two-year contract with PSG.

While a return to Camp Nou still seems a distant possibility, it’s fair to say that Messi’s return to Barcelona now is more probable than it ever has been since his tearful exit two years back. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at how likely a Messi-Barcelona reunion is as we examine the question on everyone’s lips: will Lionel Messi return to Barcelona?

Will Lionel Messi return to Barcelona?

There’s no doubting Lionel Messi’s affection and bond with Barcelona as was evident during his emotional exit from the club. While he has previously admitted that he would love to return to the city and live there following his retirement, chances of him playing for his beloved club again were always slim, to say the least.

However, a couple of recent developments have changed all that and Messi’s return to Barca is no longer as far-fetched as it once was. After Barca’s recent goalless draw with Getafe, the club president Joan Laporta had fans buzzing when he replied ‘yes’ to a fan who asked whether Messi could return to the club.

Furthermore, as per reports, Barcelona is increasingly confident of securing a summer deal for Lionel Messi. Currently, in the last few months of his contract with PSG, Messi is unlikely to sign an extension and will be a free agent in a few months’ time.

That said, Barcelona will still have to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules and they have reportedly already started to put the wheels in motion for a Messi return. Not only are Barca planning to cut wages across all sections of the club, but the Blagurana are also eager to raise funds through player sales during the summer transfer market.

Another aspect of this situation that is worth pointing out is that Messi has plenty of options on the table to choose from. Besides PSG still desperately trying to renew his contract, Messi also has a lucrative contract from Saudi Arabia club Al Ittihad still on the table. MLS side Inter Miami is also interested in securing the Argentine superstar’s signature.

However, as Messi has previously said Barcelona is ‘home’ for him and that’s what puts them ahead in the race for his signature. Of course, having everything in the right place from a financial standpoint will be crucial to make this emotional reunion possible with head coach Xavi already believed to be fully on board for the Argentine’s wizard to Barcelona.

Photo credit: Alamy