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01 May 2023

Lionel Messi: A Challenging Reunion with Barcelona Appears Improbable The possibility of Lionel Messi rejoining Barcelona seems to dwindle with every passing day.

At 35 years old, the Argentine forward, known as Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer with 672 goals in 778 appearances, is nearing the end of his two-year contract with Paris St-Germain. Despite having an offer on the table from the French club, the question remains: will Messi return to Barca?

Messi could indeed make a comeback to his former club, as he’s well aware of their situation and could facilitate such a move. Nevertheless, it is now May, and Barcelona has yet to extend an offer. Furthermore, La Liga is clueless about whether Barca will present a proposal in compliance with the financial fair play regulations they must strictly adhere to.

These factors indicate one thing: Messi’s return to Barcelona appears unlikely.

Where do things stand now?

Messi’s commitment to PSG expires this summer, and with no progress on prolonging his stay in France, Barcelona is eager to have him back.

However, the club’s aspirations clash with the harsh reality.

Barcelona needs to cut its approximately 600 million euro (£531 million) wage bill by at least 200 million (£177 million). This financial restructuring must occur before they can formally approach Messi, as without it, they will be unable to register new contracts for players like Gavi, Araujo, Marcos Alonso, and Sergi Roberto or finalize renewals and signings for the upcoming season, including an agreed-upon deal for Athletic Bilbao center-back Inigo Martinez.

To meet La Liga requirements, the club must present a viability plan, which will involve further wage reductions, player sales, and free transfer acquisitions. Discussions of terminating some players’ contracts have also emerged.

Only after addressing these issues can Barcelona consider entering the transfer market for new players, including Messi.

Additionally, the club’s temporary relocation to the former Montjuic Olympic Stadium until November 2024, due to Nou Camp renovations, will result in a loss of approximately 55 million euros (£49 million) in ticket revenue.

Barcelona has secured 1.4 billion euros (£1.24 billion) for the new stadium, adding to their existing 1.3 billion (£1.15 billion) debt.

Goldman Sachs, the investment banking firm, now holds significant sway over the club, as it has assumed much of the debt or attracted other investors. Both the firm and the club are interested in Messi’s return, as it may entice additional investors and sponsors.

There is hope that Messi’s arrival would expedite debt repayment, and the media continues to fuel optimism by reporting the club’s intent to persuade Messi to return.

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