Laporta: Barcelona´s interest in Messi return ´obvious´

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Barcelona’s interest in Lionel Messi back to the club is “obvious”, president Joan Laporta has said.

Barca brought Messi to Europe as a youngster, and he entrenched himself as a Blaugrana legend becoming the club’s all-time leading scorer and winning seven Ballons d’Or while at Camp Nou.

Messi also helped Barca win 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies during his time in Catalonia, in what was one of the club’s most successful periods.

However, financial troubles meant the LaLiga giants did not renew Messi’s contract when it expired in 2021, and Paris Saint-Germain swooped to bring him to the French capital on a two-year deal.

The 35-year-old lifted the World Cup with Argentina for the first time last weekend, and his impressive displays in Qatar earned him a second Golden Ball, the first man to ever achieve that feat.

With Messi showing he can still perform at the very top level, there is discussion over his future with his PSG contract coming to an end in June 2023.

PSG reportedly have a verbal agreement in place to extend his contract, but Laporta did not hide his desire to bring the forward back to the club, though he was keen to temper fans’ excitement with financial issues still looming.

“It is obvious that I would like him to return one day,” Laporta told BarcaTV. “I would love to, but we cannot generate expectations.

“He is a PSG player, who has a contract with them.

“What I don’t want is to create expectations that have great difficulty. The [financial] levers were made to save the club because it was in a very difficult situation.

“We would like very much that he came back, but it is something that [we will have to see].”

Messi’s World Cup win has seen him instilled as the favourite to win an eighth Ballon d’Or in 2023.

Laporta is one of many who believe Messi is the greatest player in football history, explaining: “For us, he is the best of all time.

“We have had him here and he has become a player here. He will always be linked to Barca.”

A Messi return would see him play under a former team-mate in Xavi, who watched his team bounce back from a group-stage Champions League exit to head into the World Cup break top of LaLiga, two points above rivals Real Madrid.

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