FC Barcelona want their greatest ever player Lionel Messi to return to the club ‘for life’ when he retires, according to SPORT.
The Argentine began the week winning a record eighth Ballon d’Or in Paris, recognized by a France Football-appointed panel as the planet’s best footballer after captaining his country to a third World Cup title in Qatar in December.
After the ceremony, he took to Instagram to accuse Barca journalist Gerard Romero of “lying once more”.
The transfer expert claimed that Messi had spoken to the Blaugrana’s president Joan Laporta at the Theatre du Chatelet to discuss a tribute match at the Camp Nou.
On Wednesday, SPORT also confirm that at no point did Laporta speak to Messi on an issue which is expected to see progress in terms of planning from 2024 onwards.
This is when the club and the 36-year-old’s entourage, led by his father and agent Jorge Messi, will touch bases on the exhibition fixture where Messi could play a half for the club of his life, FC Barcelona, and the other portion of the game for his current employers Inter Miami.
Snubbing both Barca and Al-Hilal this summer, Messi signed a contract until 2025 with Inter Miami.
Already, there have been reports from outlets such as El Nacional that Messi has decided to leave the US in said year and then join the outfit that discovered him in Newell’s Old Boys.
Messi will be 37 by the time his terms expire with the Jorge Mas and David Beckham owned franchise, but irrespective of whether he decides to continue in the Americas or call it a day a year out from the 2026 World Cup, SPORT reports that Barca want to take about a “future collaboration” beyond the pitch.
Barca took note of how affectionately Messi spoke of them on the stage this week with the Ballon d’Or on his hand, and believe that this opened the door to discuss his plans post-retirement.
The idea, according to SPORT, is to reach a “lifelong agreement” with Messi so that he returns to work at the club in his post-playing days.
Messi has shown an interest in becoming a director in the past, and there is no more fitting place for him to do this than behind the scenes at Camp Nou.
According to El Chiringuito, it is in this capacity, as a sporting director, that the Prodigal Son will come “home”.