Many Barcelona fans must have struggled to keep a smile off their face when they read yesterday that Lionel Messi would once again wear the Blaugrana next season.
Veronica Brunati published that news on Twitter yesterday, although it was quickly denied by another Barcelona-based journalist, Alfredo Martinez.
“Speaking to sources close to Leo, there is nothing decided yet – there is no agreement with Barcelona. It is true that Barca are dreaming of his return, and it’s something discussed internally at the club, but at the moment there is still nothing agreed, and there’s no offer.
As seems to be the consensus for many, Messi is not even contemplating his future beyond December.
“For now, he’s focused on winning the Champions League with PSG, and of course on the World Cup with Argentina. A decision on his future won’t come until 2023.”
That is unlikely to stop the rumour mill spinning onwards though. Barcelona President Joan Laporta and manager Xavi Hernandez both declared in the summer that they would welcome a return for Argentine. In particular, Laporta feels something of a debt to Messi for not giving him the departure he deserved at Camp Nou.
Messi has been back in inspired form this season too, which will increase the desire for his return beyond simply an emotional attachment. The 35-year-old has contributed directly to 15 goals in 12 games for Paris Saint-Germain so far. During the recent international break with Argentina, Messi also managed four goals in two games against Honduras and Jamaica. Beyond the statistics, the leaden weight appears to have visibly lifted from Messi, after he was hurt by his departure from Barcelona last season.