After football fans witnessed what was the most bizarre transfer window in recent memory, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has served up a new twist to one of the transfers that gained massive traction. The Blaugrana chief has fueled speculation by keeping the door open for Lionel Messi’s return barely a month after the Argentine superstar secured a surprise move to Paris Saint-Germain.
The football world was dealt a huge shock in August after it was announced that Lionel Messi was not going to extend his stay at Barcelona. The 34-year-old playmaker was away on a break after winning the Copa America with Argentina but had agreed a two-year contract with the Blaugrana which was going to be made official upon his return. However, the deal collapsed at the 11th hour after it emerged that his club would breach financial restrictions imposed by La Liga if the arrangement is completed.
A farewell press conference was subsequently held for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner before his eventual move to Paris Saint-Germain. In his speech, he consistently referred to Barcelona as his “home” and pledged to return someday soon as the move was not what he wanted. Earlier this month, Messi’s compartriot and Argentine legend Juan Roman Riquelme commented on the situation and claimed that the player could still finish his career at Barcelona. In an interview with ESPN, he stated that he would go on to win the Champions League with PSG before returning to Barca to reture.
On Monday, his former club’s president Joan Laporta turned a few heads by addressing the possibility of Messi’s return. He revealed to Spanish media outlet Esport3 that he had not been in touch with the former Bluagrana skipper since his move to Paris Saint-Germain but did not rule out his potential return.
“There are objective data. Everyone can compare. We were pressured that we would either sign the CVC loan [deal] or there is no fair play.
“There was no margin. There was a pre-agreement [to keep Messi] and we had shaken hands. There were several agreements and LaLiga seemed to accept it, but then they said no without CVC. We didn’t think that the situation was going to improve and we put an end to it.
“Messi could not have stayed even with [Antoine] Griezmann’s [departure] and with the salary reduction of the captains. But it is important that we have lowered the salary cap because next year we can be more ambitious.
“I think we were both sad because the situation was not what we wanted. I have not spoken with Messi since. I saw his debut with PSG and it was strange to see him at another team, rivals [of Barcelona]. I did not like seeing him in another shirt.”