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Lionel Messi's returning to Barcelona is financial viable according to Barcelona's finance chief

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Lionel Messi's contract at Paris Saint-Germain is set to expire in summer 2023 with Barcelona reportedly hopeful of plotting his long-awaited return to the club. A Barcelona executive has admitted it's "possible" Lionel Messi could return to the Nou Camp next summer amid heightened speculation surrounding his future.

The Argentine forward, 35, has less than a year remaining on his contract at Paris Saint-Germain, who are keen to tie him down to an extension. Messi is delaying opening talks with the French club until the new year as he wants to be fully focused on the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

That would leave Messi in a position where he would be free to discuss terms with potential suitors from January, due to being in the last six months of his deal. Having been forced to leave his beloved Barca, Messi has always been open to the prospect of a return, though much would depend on the club's finances.

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Now Barcelona 's vice-president of economics, Eduard Romeu, has revealed Barcelona would be in a position to sign their former talisman in 2023, despite their ongoing financial difficulties.

"It would be possible financially because if he returned it would be as a free agent," Romeu said to El Mati de Catalunya Radio . "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. Although I don't have it in the budget.

“He is an icon of the club," Romeu added. "This will always be his home, but it will be a technical decision [if he returns].”

Barca boss Xavi has made it clear he would be keen to reunite with former teammate Messi should the opportunity arise. And Romeu's comments are evidence Barcelona's situation has moved on considerably since Xavi's comments back in July.

Asked whether he would want Messi to return to the Nou Camp, Xavi told reporters: "Yes, but at the moment, Leo has a contract with another club, so it’s impossible. It’s impossible. It doesn’t make sense talking about Messi now."

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At the time Barca were juggling a number of financial restrictions while club chiefs were busy selling off various assets to fund their movements in the transfer market. Despite being loaded with debt, the Catalan giants eventually managed to sign Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde all for big fees, while also adding Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso before the deadline passed.

Selling 25 per cent of their LaLiga TV rights for the next 25 years to investment firm Sixth Street helped to balance the books, while the club also offloaded a number of big-name stars on expensive contracts, including Philippe Coutinho, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Miralam Pjanic and Martin Braithwaite.

The turnaround in the club's finances was evidenced by LaLiga's decision to grant Barcelona an operating wage budget for the season of €656.5million - a huge increase on the previous season's total of €97m. Yet despite Barca being in a seemingly healthy position once again, Romeu insists the battle is not completely over.

“We have saved Barça, but we still haven't resolved it,” he explained. “We don't have it healthy; it involves a lot of austerity, a lot of rigour and there is a lot of work to do. In the 2024/25 season we will be at the level that corresponds to us.”

Were Messi to return to Barca he would almost certainly be required to take a significant drop in pay from his current deal with PSG, while his ambitions of winning the Champions League again in his career would arguably be better served in the French capital.

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Date: 29/9/2022

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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