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Barcelona chief opens door to Lionel Messi return: 'I hope that chapter isn’t over'

Lionel Messi
(Image credit: Getty)

Barcelona president Joan Laporta says it is his ‘responsibility’ to bring Lionel Messi back to Camp Nou before the end of the PSG star's career.

The Argentina great made a tearful farewell from the club where he had spent his entire career last summer, after Barca’s disastrous financial situation left them unable to extend his contract. 

Laporta explained the circumstances that led to the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s departure, while suggesting that he could yet make a return to Catalonia.

"Messi was everything," Laporta told ESPN (opens in new tab).

"To Barca, he's been possibly its greatest player, the most efficient. To me he's only comparable to Johan Cruyff. But it had to happen one day.

“We had to make a decision as a consequence of what we inherited. The institution is in charge of players, coaches.

"I would hope that the Messi chapter isn't over. I think it's our responsibility to try to...find a moment to fix that chapter, which is still open and hasn't closed, so it turns out like it should have, and that it has a more beautiful ending."

He added: "As president of Barca, I did what I had to do. But also as president of Barca, and on a personal level, I think I owe him.”

Joan Laporta Barcelona president

(Image credit: PA)

Messi has one year remaining on his deal with PSG, but his first season with the Ligue 1 club was underwhelming by his standards.

The 35-year-old struggled with fitness problems and ended the campaign with 11 goals in all competitions.

He provided an impressive 15 assists in 26 league appearances, though, including a run of six in five games between January and February, helping PSG reclaim the league crown.

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