Lionel Messi’s return to Barcelona is ON after La Liga accept financial viability plan - but Catalan club still need to sell players

Lionel Messi BarcelonaGetty
  • Argentine superstar hitting free agency
  • Linked with clubs in MLS & the Middle East
  • Emotional return to Camp Nou could happen

WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has seen an emotional retracing of steps to Camp Nou speculated on from the moment that it became clear that no new contract would be signed at Paris Saint-Germain. With a lucrative deal in France now expiring, Messi is poised to hit free agency.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Moves to MLS and the Middle East have been discussed at length for Messi, but Barca remain keen on bringing a prodigal son back to his spiritual home. Financial struggles have been making life difficult, but useful funds have been generated from the sale of Antoine Griezmann and release of Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Relevo reports that Barca will also be making savings in their basketball department, with it possible that around €40 million (£35m/$43m) will be added to the pot this summer. That will be enough to register the contracts of Gavi and Ronald Araujo that have already been agreed, while also bringing in experienced defender Inigo Martinez from Athletic Club.

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Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23

Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23Getty ImagesLaporta TebasGetty

WHAT NEXT? Barca are still short when it comes to fully funding a contract for Messi, but they may decide to offload the likes of Ansu Fati, Abde Ezzalzouli and Raphinha in the summer window. They will need Messi to remain patient for now, as he mulls over approaches from elsewhere. But La Liga are happy with the club’s financial viability plan, and that means the iconic Argentine could be back on the Blaugrana’s books for 2023-24.