FC Barcelona legend Lionel Messi discussed a potential return to the club, and possible loan there, in an interview with L’Equipe published this week.
The Argentine celebrated an eighth Ballon d’Or as the world’s best player on Monday, which was awarded to him by a France Football-appointed panel.
To rival publication L’Equipe, he touched on the process that resulted in him opting not to take up a second spell at Barca this summer, and instead joining Inter Miami in the United States.
I could have returned, but it wasn’t like that,” Messi said, in terms of the move being easy to pull off as he was nearing free agency in the French capital.
“It was something similar to what happened in 2021. It was very similar to having to go to Paris in 2021.
“I thought about returning to Barca, about my life there, about retiring there as I always wanted, but it wasn’t possible,” he added.
Of a potential loan in Catalonia with Xavi Hernandez’s men during the MLS off-season, Messi shut down the rumors by stating: “There is no chance.”
Yet even though that might be so, Messi confessed to still keeping tabs on the club of his life.
“Evidently I follow them as [I did] when I was in Paris. It seems to me that the team has evolved well after the arrival of Xavi, with a mix of young and more experienced players like [Robert] Lewandowski or [Jules] Kounde.
“The young people have an excellent level,” Messi noted, complimenting his fellow La Masia graduates.
“There is a beautiful team and they have a chance to do great things this year.”
While the chances of Messi returning to Barca as a player in a competitive capacity are slim to none, he could play a half for them in a farewell match at the newly renovated Camp Nou in 2024 or 2025, when his Inter Miami contract winds down.
El Nacional reported that Messi plans to enjoy a stint at Newell’s Old Boys in hometown Rosario after his two-year deal in the US comes to an end.
According to SPORT, though, Barca want their greatest ever player to commit to them for the rest of his life in retirement with the 36-year-old touted for a behind-the-scenes role such as sporting director.