Barcelona’s plan to finalize the return of Lionel Messi and the main obstacles to achieving it

Barcelona acknowledged that it is trying to finalize the return of Lionel Messi (Photo: Reuters/Carl Recine)

It is openly recognized by everyone in the environment of Lionel Messi: The only way to reach the 2024 Copa América in the United States and, if possible, embrace the ultimate dream, that of playing the sixth World Cup of his career in 2026, is to try to extend his participation in the highest soccer level for the touch it gives. At this time, only two options appear: stay in the PSG or return to FC Barcelonaan ambition that the great Argentine star does not express in public but that he keeps alive despite everything he had to suffer with his traumatic departure for Paris in August 2021.

Shortly after that scene of Messi’s farewell to Barcelona amid tears and almost without wanting to greet the president of the club, John Laportain whom he trusted so much that he even went to vote for him as a partner and then felt betrayed, the top leader of the Catalan club tried to build all kinds of bridges to explain to his entourage the reasons for the rejection of the contract renewal in 2021, and he was snubbed and again.

Both Messi and his family got very angry with Laporta when they heard from him that he was in contact with them, when there was absolutely nothing. as he told infobae At the time, the player turned their faces at a Ballon d’Or gala for the France Footballwhen the highest members of the board of directors tried to come over to greet him, in another edition of the same award he decided not to attend at the last moment so as not to have to meet them, knowing that they were going to talk to him about a tribute match, and he dribbled at Laporta, even though he had been sitting nearby at the recent FIFA “The Best” party in Paris.

But Laporta did not stop insisting. He came to shed tears that meant a mixture of guilt, grief and emotion when last summer, in the pre-season for Barcelona in the United States, he gave an interview in which he maintained that he would do everything possible for the return of the Argentine. He acknowledged that he had felt bad when he had to tell her that he could not renew his contract, but that he was tied hand and foot by the situation he found at the club. The decisive moment was when the president of the Spanish League, Javier Tebas, approached him with the proposal for a 50-year TV rights contract for the CVC company, which the top manager of the Catalan club considered impossible to accept because it was leonine, and whose collection It was essential to deal with the player’s payments and without time to look for other resources when the season was already beginning.

Messi’s crying on the day he said goodbye to Barcelona in August 2021 (Photo: Reutes/Albert Gea)

Finally, with the aim of organizing a tribute match for Messi in a Camp Nou full to pay tribute, Laporta managed to meet with the footballer’s fatherJorge, who from then on moderated his speech with phrases like “let’s see” when reporters approached him at the airport exit, or boarding a car, in the city of Barcelona. “No one who agrees to meet does so if there is no chance that something will materialize”they say from positions close to the club, and recall that Messi’s love for Barcelona continues to be intact, added to the unique comfort he feels in the city –accustomed to his house in Castelldefels–, and his permanent contacts with his former teammates Sergio Busquets y Jordi Alba (and their respective wives) together with their partner, Antonela Roccuzzo.

Although both Messi and his family have adapted to Paris, and the player is already fully familiar with the dynamics of his team, Paris Saint Germain (PSG), it does not seem by chance that over the past week, allusions to his possible return to Barcelona for coach part Xavi Hernandez (former teammate of his with whom he maintains a fluid relationship) and several players on the squad (among them the German goalkeeper Marc Ter Stegen, with whom he had several differences before his departure) were growing in insistence and in public.

If every time they can, his wife and children return from Paris to Barcelona in the private planealso in the PSG already there is not so much optimism that the argentinian will renew his contract when he earns half that of his teammate Kylian Mbappé (the figures were revealed through a media leak) and that is why the club bets everything that it is the emir of Qatar himself, Tamin Bin Hamad Al Thani (the same one who placed the cape on him moment of the delivery of the World Cup) the one who tries to convince him by inviting him to his country to talk about the future.

A factor that can be decisive, in this aspect, is the Messi’s discomfort with some issues that appear on a day-to-day basis around PSG. It is not at all coincidental that after each match in the Parque de los Princes Stadium, the Argentine does not join in greeting the stands and goes directly to the locker room after changing his shirt with the rival on duty. He knows that the local press privileges Mbappé almost as a matter of state after the French president, Emmanuel Macron, called him not to go to Real Madrid and remain in France, especially thinking about his image for the next Olympic Games. of Paris in 2024.

PSG managers are no longer so clear that Messi is going to continue (Photo: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach)

The day after the delivery of the FIFA “The Best” award, which once again established him as the best player in the world in 2022, in a ceremony held in the Pleyel room in Paris, one of the most prestigious sports newspapers and traditional as The team did not publish a single line about the awardsomething very striking. Instead, it deployed its entire edition to the resignation of the president of the French Federation (FFF), Noel Le Graët, due to a case of sexual harassment.

With this panorama, and when Messi’s entourage knows perfectly well that at almost 36 years of age and with the money that his participation in a high-level club requires, few are willing to spend such an amount to start a new cycle with a star who is already entering In his last stage, if he wanted to remain in a position to reach the Copa América and the World Cup, there only seems to be two paths: either PSG or Barcelona.

At this point, everything indicates that the first step is to the second lines begin to speak before the Messi finish expressing their intentions to return to the club of their loves For this reason, the manifestations of Xavi, the players, and even one of his best friends in football, such as Sergio When Omenestimated that the chances of a possible return of blaugrana “They are fifty percent”, a high figure if one thinks about the tension that existed with the leadership cule months ago.

If near Messi it is indicated that the player (to whom the club continues to owe money) would accept a large resignation at a high figure to returnwhat could become the biggest obstacle to the operation appears on the scene: that Barcelona wants, desires and does everything possible to please the Argentine star, but that the numbers do not close again.

In this sense, although the Barcelona barely raised 70 million euros In his last participation in European tournaments (he could not get past the group stage of the Champions League and was immediately eliminated from the Europa League by Manchester United), the president of the League, Javier Tebas, insists in every forum he agrees with the Catalans they must drop 200 million euros from their salary mass for the Financial Fair Play in the next season, and that the club could not even register yet Gavi oa Ronald Araújo in the League when there are just over ten games left to finish, its leaders are confident that they will finish closing an attractive proposal for Messi to return.

On the one hand, an attempt will be made to ensure there is liquidity from two possible sales of players such as Ansu Fati (which from the initial promise was diluted by successive injuries that undermined his confidence and took away his continuity), for which they aspire to obtain no less than 50 million euros (due to their age and projection and because they believe that several clubs in the English Premier League are in a position to pay for it and many are interested) and Ferran Torresstriker who does not finish convincing in the Camp Nou but that also due to youth and trajectory can generate important benefits. In the case of Fati, the fact that at the time he was represented by Rodrigo Messi but decided to switch to the almighty Portuguese jorge mendes, who is looking for a destination outside of Spain. They also want to convince a downward renewal to Jordi Alba already Sergio BusquetsLeo’s two friends on campus.

To this must be added the original idea of ​​the club, which is to hold a match tribute to Messi with the Camp Nou full and that the proceeds go all to the playerwhich is also would offer very important dividends in percentages of image rights and future payments for businesses that can be created from marketing.

Barcelona now hopes that UEFA, which requested reports from the League for the Enríquez Negreira case (of the payment with invoices to the former vice president of the Technical Committee of Referees for alleged courses and advice), do not take measures that imply a suspension of the club to play the next Champions Leagueessential to obtain important dividends, and that Tebas understands the importance of Messi returning to a Spanish league weakened by lack of stars since the departures of Neymar, Luis Suárez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Rodri, Aymeric Laporte or even Rodrigo Moreno (the Leeds goalscorer), and it doesn’t even seem like he will be able to retain a promising star like the midfielder from celtic Gabi Veigawhich has better offers from the Premier League than from Real Madrid itself.

This is why Barcelona lights candles so that Thebes agree to a higher wage bill cap that allows a greater expense so that Messi can return, and dreams that the Argentine, even, accepts not only playing the 2023/24 season at home in the Olympic stadium of Montjuic (because the Camp Nou will be under construction as part of the mega project of the “Espai Barça”, supported by banks such as Goldman Sachs y JPMorganwhich will imply a loss of 93 million euros per year due to a lower collection due to having a lower capacity of attendees and some twenty thousand members who will not attend throughout the season, and the impossibility of selling their own products outside their home) , but Messi ends his career at the highest level saying goodbye at the Camp Nou in front of his audience.

“It’s the right thing, isn’t it? -says someone close to the player, to Infobae- After all, Barcelona loves him and he loves Barcelona. Where is he going to finish his career other than in his house?”.

Keep reading:

The DT of PSG responded about the future of Messi before the rumors of his return to Barcelona
Barcelona confirmed contacts with Lionel Messi’s father for his return to the club
Xavi’s phrase that feeds the chance of Messi’s return to Barcelona: “The fans are excited about a Last Dance like Michael Jordan”


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