Rumours of Lionel Messi’s potential return to Barcelona are taking shape, with the club’s vice president admitting that contact has been made with the Argentine superstar.
The 35-year-old is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain this summer, and there have been no signs of a breakthrough in the renewal talks.
The Ligue 1 champions reportedly have a verbal agreement with the World Cup winner over a contract extension.
However, they are now having second thoughts following the elimination from the Champions League and Financial Fair Play issues.
Recent reports suggested that Barca are eager to bring back the legendary forward to Camp Nou this summer, regardless of the financial hurdles it would involve.
Club vice president Rafa Yuste has now revealed that the club has been in talks with Messi over a possible reunion next season while expressing his regret over being unable to prevent the World Cup winner from his agonising exit in 2021.
“We are in contact with them [Messi’s entourage],” Yuste told Sport.
“Leo [Messi] and his family know the affection I have for them. I participated in the negotiations that unfortunately did not lead to success.
“I have a thorn in me that Leo could not continue in our club. Of course, I would love to see him come back.”
Xavi also weighed in on the speculation surrounding Messi, stating that he has been in regular dialogue with his former teammate.
The Blaugrana manager also emphasised that the club are trying to re-sign the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Ahead of this weekend’s game against Elche, Xavi said (h/t Fabrizio Romano): “It’s not the time to talk about Messi’s return. I talk a lot with him.
“It’s a topic that we are dealing with. Hopefully we can see him at Barcelona again. It’s the club of his life.”
The sticking point will be Barca’s financial crisis and the tense relationship with La Liga, whose president Javier Tebas recently claimed that the Catalans would not be able to make any signings this summer.
The Blaugrana need a massive clearout to reduce their excessive wage bill, and Messi may also have to take a significant pay cut if he wants to return to Camp Nou.
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