Barcelona president Joan Laporta has left the door open once more for the return of Lionel Messi in the near future. The claim was made during the official unveiling of Dani Alves, with the Bluagrana chief hinting at the prospect of Andres Iniesta also joining in the special homecoming.
After having an illustrious career which spanned across 21 years, Lionel Messi left the Catalonia club this summer to join Paris Saint-Germain as a result of financial constraints. The manner in which the Argentine superstar’s exit was faciliated left a bitter taste in the mouths of supporters of Barcelona including the club’s hierarchy. To a large extent, the situation has put blemish on the spell of Laporta who won his presidency on the back of the promise that he was going to convince the player to stay at the Camp Nou beyond his 2021 contract expiration date.
At PSG, Messi is yet to find his feet and he has been consistently linked with a move back to La Liga despite arriving less than four months ago. The appointment of Xavi Hernandez as the new Barcelona boss following the sack of Ronald Koeman has also paved the way for the rumors to persist, with the recent arrival of Dani Alves as a free agent equally adding more fuel to the fire. Back in September Barca chief Joan Laporta refused to categorically rule out the return of Lionel Messi and the 51-year-old Catalonia native has done so once more – this time, by including Vissel Kobe’s Andres Iniesta.
“I can’t rule it out,” Laporta said at Alves’ unveiling in front of 10,000 supporters at the Camp Nou. “It has happened with Dani Alves, who has seen the situation and wanted to help. “We’re grateful for the financial sacrifice he’s made. He wants to help us turn things around.
“Leo and Andres [Iniesta] are two spectacular players. I can’t predict the future. They are Barca greats and who made this club what it is and they will always be present, but they’re players with contracts with other clubs.
“That must be respected, but in life you never know.”
Earlier this month, Messi iterated his own desire to return to Barcelona in the near future. The 34-year-old former Blaugrana skipper, together with Dani Alves, Iniesta and Xavi, were part of the successful Barcelona squad that dominated Spanish and European football under Pep Guardiola.
“I don’t know if that’ll happen when my PSG contract is up,” Messi told SPORT in November.
“What’s almost confirmed and certain is that we’ll return to Barcelona to live and our lives will be there.
“That’s what my wife and I want. I don’t know what’ll happen when my PSG contract ends, but we’ll go back to live in Barcelona.
“I’ve always said I’d love to be able to help the club do well in any way that I can be useful. I’d love to be a technical director at some point.
“I don’t know if that’ll be at Barcelona or if it might work out differently.”