'Beautiful stories should have happy endings' – Barcelona confirm Messi talks

Lionel Messi during his farewell press conference at Barcelona in 2021.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lionel Messi could be in line for a sensational return to Barcelona after the Catalan club confirmed they were in talks with their former forward.

Messi left Barcelona in the summer of 2021 due to the club's financial crisis, which meant they could not afford to keep him despite numerous promises from president Joan Laporta that he would be staying at Camp Nou.

The Argentine attacker signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain instead, with the option of spending a third year at the Parc des Princes.

But the move has not really worked out for player or club and Messi is now believed to be seriously considering a return to Barcelona in the summer.

"I am still gutted he couldn't continue here," Barcelona vice president Rafa Yuste said at a news conference on Friday. "Of course I would like him to come back, because of what he represents on a sporting, social and economic level.

"We are in contact with [Messi's camp], yes. Beautiful stories should have happy endings, and there is a mutual love between the two parties."

Before they can consider bringing back Messi or signing any players in the summer window, Barcelona need to descrease their annual spending by more than €150 million or raise money through transfers to comply with LaLiga's economic regulations.

"We still have two months to work hard to present our revenue and sustainability plan to [LaLiga president Javier] Tebas," Yuste said when asked if signing Messi was possible.

"I don't like to speak about Leo because he is a PSG player, but if all the conditions are met, we are open to the possibility. The president [Joan Laporta] has been with Leo's father, and there is a good relationship.

"Of course, there is no plan to go on the attack because we don't want PSG to see it like that. If it happens, it will be because destiny takes you back to where you have to go.

"If all the conditions come together and Leo comes back to Barcelona, it would be the perfect ending to a very happy story."

Messi, who won the World Cup with Argentina last December, will be 36 in June.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.