- Argentine left Camp Nou in 2021
- Has been jeered by fans in Paris
- Set to become a free agent in the summer
WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner left Catalunya for the French capital in 2021 and is approaching the end of his second season at Parc des Princes. Messi has become a World Cup winner in that time, but has not always lived up to expectations at club level and was subjected to more jeers from the terraces during Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-0 defeat at home to Rennes on Sunday. He headed straight down the tunnel after that game, with the expectation now being that he will leave PSG as a free agent when his contract expires in the summer.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Sergi Roberto is eager to be reunited with his former team-mate, telling Jijantes FC when asked how Barca would welcome a prodigal son back: “With open arms, who is not going to be prepared for Messi’s return? In the end, we don’t want to talk a lot because he, the president, the coach or whoever has to decide, but if it’s because of the players, we are waiting for him now.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Sergi, who was speaking after netting in Barca’s 2-1 Clasico win over arch-rivals Real Madrid, added on the treatment that Messi has received: “You don’t understand that he is having a good season in Paris, scoring many goals, assisting… Because of the [Champions League] elimination they have taken issue with him, but he is a spectacular player and it’s bad that a player of this level is treated in this way. Here we are going to treat him very well if he comes.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? There has been plenty of renewed talk to suggest that Messi is back in Barca’s sights – as he is also linked with teams in MLS and Saudi Arabia – with the 35-year-old potentially readying himself for a remarkable retracing of steps.