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Could Lionel Messi return to Barcelona in 2023?

After becoming arguably the greatest player of all time at Barcelona, he left for France in 2021 as the Camp Nou club suffered financially.

HARRISON, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 27: Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina controls the ball in the second half against Jamaica at Red Bull Arena on September 27, 2022 in Harrison, New Jersey. Argentina defeated Jamaica 3-0.   Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

Lionel Messi’s return to Barcelona as a player would be financially possible in the summer of 2023, according to Barcelona vice president Eduard Romeu.

The former Blaugrana captain will be out of contract with PSG at the end of the season and could potentially move back to Barça on a free transfer.

After becoming arguably the greatest player of all time at Barça, he left for France in 2021 as the Camp Nou club suffered financially and could not afford to offer him a new deal.

Possible Messi return

“It would be possible financially because if he returned, it would be as a free agent,” Romeu told Catalunya Radio this week when asked whether the LaLiga club could afford to bring Messi back.

“But it’s a decision which has to be made by the coaching staff and the player. It doesn’t correspond to me [to make those decisions], but it would be viable.”

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Laporta’s responsibility to bring Messi back

Joan Laporta, president of Barcelona, opened the door to a Messi return in the summer when he told ESPN the forward’s “chapter” at the club is still “not over.”

Laporta has said he considers it his responsibility to ensure Messi has a “more beautiful ending” at Camp Nou than the one he had to experience when he was forced to say goodbye to the Catalan club.

Messi focusing on World Cup with Argentina

According to sources close to Messi, he is now focused on the upcoming World Cup with Argentina and having a successful season domestically and in Europe with PSG.

Since Messi left Catalonia, Barcelona have sold assets worth over €700 million, allowing them to sign the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Koundé.

“Without boasting, we have saved Barça, but the club is not economically healthy yet,” Romeu explained.

“There’s still a need for austerity, and there is a lot of work to do. [I predict] Barça will be healthy within five years [of our mandate]. In the ‘24-25 season, we will be at the level we should be.”