The Argentine World Cup winner is almost certain to depart Paris Saint-Germain in the coming months, with his next move a major topic of conversation as we head towards another high-profile transfer window.
Messi’s contract with the French giants is up at the end of June and they are not planning an extension, with a breakdown in their relationship clear despite securing a record 11th Ligue 1 title and domestic double this term under Christophe Galtier.
Messi, who turns 36 next month, was suspended by PSG earlier this month for taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, where he serves as an ambassador for the country’s tourist board.
There have been suggestions that he could now join arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo in making a big-money switch to the Gulf state, with other links to Major League Soccer (MLS).
But Barca have constantly talked up a fairytale return to the Camp Nou for their favourite son, who left in tears for PSG in the summer of 2021 after 21 years due to the Blaugrana not being able to afford his new five-year contract due to new LaLiga spending rules.
Manager Xavi has now admitted that he is in touch with Messi over such a blockbuster move and already devising tactical plans that include the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, having guided Barcelona back to the summit of LaLiga this season.
“I told the president that Messi return makes sense,” Xavi told Catalan publication Sport. “No doubts at all, he is perfect for our system and idea. I’ve the tactical plan in mind with Leo.
“It’s up to Leo. I think he has to decide, it’s up to him… I’m speaking with Leo, yes.”