Is Messi’s return to Barcelona possible? Five factors that bring him closer to his former club and five points that distance him

Lionel Messi could return to Barcelona (ALBERT GEA/)

Since the president of the Football Club Barcelona, ​​Joan Laporta, held on the verge of tears that he feels indebted to Leo Messi Due to the way in which the Argentine crack left the club after twenty years, and that he would like the end of the relationship between the two to be different, he began to speculate on the possibility of a return when the contract with him ends. Paris Saint Germain (PSG).

Information even circulated that the coach of the current Barça team, Xavi Hernandez, former teammate of the Argentine, would have requested his return, something he did not deny, although he preferred to avoid it when asked at a press conference in the United States, where the team is in preseason. “The president has already stated it, but now it is impossible. He is the best player in the world and in history, but he has a contract. Let’s talk better about this exciting season.”

How much of a real possibility does Messi‘s return to Barcelona have and how much of fantasy or illusion? Infobae He spoke with journalists who follow Barcelona‘s activity in detail to delve into the points for and against this return that began to excite the “culés” fans.

Points in favor of Messi’s return:

1- Knowing that he is loved by the fans.

So much so that the journalist from dosisfutbolera.comRubén Costa, recalls that in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Assembly of 2021, the trustee Trayter Jiménez said that there was a suggestion to deal with that day about a statue of Messi outside the Camp Nou, accompanying those of Johan Cruyff and Ladislao Kubala, considered the two previous heroes of the club.

Messi is one of the great idols, if not the greatest, of Barcelona fans and the mere mention of a possible return already arouses all kinds of expectations.

Messi always had a very strong relationship with the Barcelona fan
Messi always had a very strong relationship with the Barcelona fan (Viera, Loana/)

2- The desire for reconciliation on the part of both sides.

Ramón Besa, head of Sports of the newspaper The country in Barcelona, ​​he maintains that “the two parties have said that they would like to reconcile, and why not, it may be at the end of PSG’s contract, it may be that Barcelona makes it easier for him to go to Miami before he returns. But I think an act of reconciliation is missing, of a reunion between Messi and the club, although I think it depends more on Leo than on Laporta”.

David Bernabeu of Mediaset Sport Spain part of the base of a broken relationship that tries to rebuild: “Laporta believes that he is in debt to Messi. Their relationship ended badly because the president had been insisting for three months that everything was progressing properly and he firmly believed in the possibility of retaining Messi, he said so during the campaign and after taking office. In fact Messi was on vacation aware that he could sign a new contract and after a few hours we found that the best footballer in history was leaving Barcelona”.

“We all remember that scene the day Messi said goodbye, the day of tears at the press conference and when they crossed paths before the act, something the cameras picked up, the greeting was cold, almost without looking at each other, especially from Messi to the president. when he had gone to vote as a member to elect him and found that the same president said no to his continuity. That relationship was obviously touched and Laporta has something inside that makes him think that this could have a much happier ending than he had, which he said the other day in the interview with ESPN”, he detailed.

“You have to remember – continued Bernabeu – that Laporta happens to be the president, of the three he had at Barcelona (the other two were Sandro Rosell and Josep María Bartomeu), with whom Messi has better understood, with whom more feeling has had. Laporta has always made a show of being a person close to Messi, that Messi paid attention to him. When Ronaldinho left, he went to his house to tell him that there was a change of leaders and that he was now going to wear the number 10 shirt”. Although Messi opened the doors of the future in Barcelona in different interviews, he has been silent for a long time and only appeared with former teammates at different meals on each return to the city, which he longs for and always maintained that he will return to live in she, although it is unknown if as a footballer

The president of Barcelona, ​​​​Joan Laporta, said on the verge of tears that he feels indebted to Lionel Messi
The president of Barcelona, ​​Joan Laporta, said on the verge of tears that he feels indebted to Lionel Messi (ALBERT GEA /)

3- The institutional change and a change of image in Barcelona.

Undoubtedly, this is a new stage in Barcelona after years of drought and economic decline, to the point of going from being a club that prided itself on billing close to one billion euros in one season, to owing 1,300 million as legacy of Bartomeu’s presidency. “I have the feeling that at this moment Laporta feels like the king of the summer after (Kylian) Mbappé stayed in Paris and Haaland went to Manchester City (two goals indicated a priori by Real Madrid), and all summer It goes around in what Barcelona does, how it does it, what it can do and not do, the ability to reinvent itself without a handle, completely in debt – Besa maintains. And Laporta’s way of responding is not only with hiring but with challenges such as recovering Messi. It was the president who invited Messi to leave, and now he feels the need and can boast that he is at a time when he can get it back. If that’s possible? I think it will depend on Messi. What Barcelona can choose? It’s possible”.

The truth is that Messi would no longer come to a club with a losing image, with long faces and a drought of titles, but, quite possibly, to another full of stars, with the leadership’s intention of recreating a festive and triumphant atmosphere as in that first period between 2003 and 2010, when all the titles were won. Even the marketing murals allude to other times, such as when in the middle of the campaign a gigantography of Laporta appeared very close to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium with the inscription “wanting to see you again” or before the recent summer classic, another, with the president of the Barcelona affirming “what happened in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas”.

4- The friendship between Messi and Xavi.

A huge advantage for Messi’s return is his friendly relationship with Xavi Hernández, with whom he was not only a teammate but also part of one of the most successful cycles in Barcelona’s history. Messi and Xavi continue to see each other every time the Argentine returns to Barcelona and maintain a permanent dialogue from a distance.

In addition, the sports newspaper Sport affirmed that the DT asked the board of directors for the hiring of Messi, although David Bernabeu clarifies to Infobae that “from the coach’s side they explicitly tell me that at least Xavi hasn’t asked the president for Messi to come. Another thing is that Xavi and Messi talk often, they’re friends and there’s a very good relationship and I’m sure they talk about the future but there’s no formal request”.

5- A team that could sustain it.

“That Xavi has asked for it? I have my doubts, but it is possible that once the team is assembled and that Messi is not the player on whom the game rests but is the icing on the cake, I do see it as a possibility, “says Besa, who of all However, he maintains his question: “I don’t know if he will want to continue in Paris, but I do see it as a possibility, it doesn’t seem like a fantasy to me, but the current situation seems opportunistic to me when the World Cup is still to be played.”

Bernabeu thinks more in terms of what Messi could bring to Barcelona with an eventual return being such a veteran. “He is the best player in history and he can give a great reading of the game, put in the last pass”.

It is evident that this renewed Barcelona has players who generate another illusion, with a great scorer like the Pole Robert Lewandowski -with whom he could generate a lethal duo-, or a variety in attack like he hasn’t had for years, with Raphinha, Ansu Fati, Ferrán Torres, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang or Ousmane Dembélé, of whom he was already a teammate in the past, added to those who can help him in the creation Pedri González, Franck Kessie or Gavi, which completely changes the complicated panorama with which he was the Argentine in recent years dressed as a Barça player, in which his partners in attack were very few and he even played with a single striker.

The Argentine striker Lionel Messi, during the press conference in which he said goodbye to Barcelona
Argentine striker Lionel Messi, during the press conference in which he said goodbye to Barcelona (Andreu Dalmau /)

Points against the return of Messi

1- Laporta’s ego and the difficulty of reversing the end of the previous cycle.

The exultant moment of the president of Barcelona, ​​​​after having obtained contracts considered almost impossible after inheriting a terminal economic situation, can lead him to say things that express his feelings more than realities. “Today the statue of Messi next to those of Kubala and Cruyff is more possible than a return of the player”, affirms Rubén Costa, and finishes off: “I think that with this, Laporta has in his hand a more real and faster exit to start to rewrite this abrupt end of a relationship a little. Costa believes that this ending “well deserves a book because if there was a player who was enthusiastic about the leadership change, and in some way, with Laporta’s candidacy, it was Messi, because he did something he had never done, which is to show himself as a member to vote for his candidacy”.

Bernabeu agrees, and maintains that the intention of Messi’s return to Barcelona “is more a wish of the president than a reality, at least for now”, while Besa warns that “this is not a time to say” I feel so full, I feel so good that my obsession is trying to convince Messi to come back to Barcelona”.

Besa also alludes to Laporta’s personality in his search for reconciliation with Messi: “It can be as we say here, like Juan Palomo; I cook it and I eat it. I was the one who did not renew Messi and now I am the one who is going to get Messi back. It is like an act from which he corrects himself but from which he can do it. So he was the protagonist of the goodbye and now he would be the protagonist of the reunion, but everything depends on Leo.

2- The World Cup in the middle of the season.

It seems complicated that, even with the greatest good will, Messi can now think of a return to Barcelona when in his mind he has focused on the goal of winning the World Cup (which could be the last he plays) with the Argentine team, and when it is disputed for the first time in the middle of the season.

In fact, for Besa, Messi’s decision “will depend a lot on the World Cup. Even after the World Cup it’s hard for me to visualize what Messi is going to do. Now he is more interested in Argentina than PSG, which we all know is a quiilombo and that it is not known how it will end and in November it will not be known what will happen with the League, nor with the Champions League and then from December they can bring up a lot of things.”

Costa agrees with Besa: “Messi is now at PSG and I think he is in World Cup 2022 mode and I see his return as very complicated due to different interests, including those of PSG”.

The World Cup could also condition Messi’s future career. Is it the same to play at almost 36 years old without a World Cup on the horizon? Will it be the same physical preparation, the same motivation, the same energy or will the star slowly fade?

3- The financial resources of Barcelona.

Costa also introduces the theme “of the levers” as an obstacle to a possible arrival of Messi in a year. How does a club that had two balance sheets in the red and that had to sell almost half of its share package in a couple of companies and that owes 495 million euros to Goldman Sachs to pay a salary like Messi’s, which was one of the great engines of its departure?

Bernabeu wonders “how the return of a player who will be 37 years old will be managed financially and under what conditions would he want to return, because obviously Barcelona will not be able to pay him even a quarter of what they paid him in recent years . So a very specific salary scale is getting in the way where there is a cap and nobody would see it as possible for Messi to return with a pharaonic contract. Perhaps one possibility would be with specific sponsors for the player, but in any case, that was never made explicit by the Barcelona board of directors.

4- A complicated role in a dynamic team.

How would Messi fit in at almost 37 years of age in a team whose dynamic is one of constant physical effort and necessary solidarity, with very high pressure on the opponent? Bernabeu remembers that “already in the last previous stage, it was difficult for him to make an effort to press up, to run like the others. We are talking about a player who no longer has, surely, the individual ability that he had before to determine matches. And if Xavi is building a project with committed footballers and that everyone is going to run the same way for their teammate, and he already said it in a press conference in which they asked him about it and he said that in his game system, if there is a player that it doesn’t run, the invention falls, then, there could be a problem. How to manage that? It is a question that must be asked.”

Lionel Messi - Barcelona
Messi and Iniesta celebrating after winning the Champions League (LLUIS GENE/)

5- The acceptance of the fans of a different Messi.

One of the big questions is whether the fans will get used to a Messi who no longer scores 40-50 goals, with slower movements, when for years they experienced something completely different. If they are prepared for a slow farewell, perhaps from football.

“Both Messi and the people should understand that we are dealing with a footballer who no longer does the things he used to do but who is still very important. Will Messi accept that role? Will the people accept it?” Bernabeu wonders.

Time will tell what his contribution can be if Messi returns, or not after all, the public wants to participate in his farewell, when he plays, and that Barcelona is in charge of patching up the very tough previous exit.


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