Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona is “not impossible”, admits former club director Ariedo Braida, with it suggested that the mercurial Argentine could line up in the same team as eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Exit talk has started to build around the six-time Ballon d’Or winner once more and, not for the first time, a potential reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City has been mooted, with Messi considered by some to be growing disillusioned with life at Camp Nou.
There has been no indication from the man himself that he is looking for a move, but there is a break clause in his current contract which can be triggered at the end of any given season.
Barca had been hoping to agree fresh terms with their skipper and remove any uncertainty regarding his future, but no deal has been done as yet.
Braida concedes that the door is being left open for a one-club man to take on a new challenge at the age of 32, but he is not expecting a change of scenery to be sought.
"Messi is an extraordinary player, he's doing very well at Barcelona," Braida told Radio anch'io sport.
"He's been there since he was 13 and he lives with his family.
"It's difficult for him to leave, but not impossible."
There are few clubs in world football that could afford to finance a move for Messi if he were to become available.
It has, however, been suggested that he could one day head for MLS and link up with an ambitious project such as that being pieced together by David Beckham at Inter Miami.
Ronaldo, who is currently starring for Juventus in Serie A, has also seen a switch to the United States talked up at various intervals.
It could be that a dream team is forged on American soil, or elsewhere, with Braida conceding that two modern-day icons could work well together in the same starting XI.
He added: "They are two such good players that with good work they could work.
"They can play together."
Messi and Ronaldo have spent the vast majority of their respective careers to date scrapping against one another, rather than working in tandem.
Their battle for personal supremacy in the global game has thrilled audiences for well over a decade, with the pair boasting 11 Golden Balls and countless records between them.