Barcelona are negotiating with Lionel Messi over the prospect of returning to his former club and his presence in the Spanish city on the same night the Ligue 1 awards were handed out has only added to the speculation
Lionel Messi mercilessly disregarded French football’s end-of-season awards ceremony, instead going to watch a Coldplay concert in his paradise in Barcelona.
The Argentine striker has been linked with a return to Catalonia as his contract with PSG comes to an end. PSG have already come to terms with Messi’s departure after some setbacks during his two years in the French capital where he won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.
However, despite being nominated for the Ligue 1 Player of the Year, Messi shrugged off the awards in favor of watching Chris Martin and company at Barcelona’s Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys with his wife Antonela and friend and former teammate Cesc Fabregas. If he was hoping to keep a low profile, he failed as fans quickly spotted him in the crowd and started chanting his name.
In the footage that went viral online, Messi tried not to respond to the attention, although his presence in Barcelona sounded several alarm bells from all over the place. Despite ongoing links with the lucrative move to join Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League, Barcelona are confident they can lure Messi back to Camp Nou.
“With all due respect to Saudi Arabia – where there is a lot of good work and investment going on around the league – Barca is Barca,” club president Joan Laporta told TV3. “Barca is his home.”
Leo Messi, not at tonight’s UNFP ceremony with PSG – he’s at the Coldplay concert in Barcelona. 🏟️🎶 #Messi
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 28, 2023
Should Messi turn back the Clocks and seal a comeback, there are still plenty of hurdles to jump over to make that eventuality possible. Barcelona’s financial situation is still far from perfect despite winning the La Liga title this season.
La Liga has still not reached a decision on Barcelona’s profitability plan, which they have put forward to outline how Messi’s return would fit into their economic fabric. Barcelona still have to cut their wages by €200m to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, which will be more difficult if they sign Messi, who earns around €730,000 a week at PSG.
Spanish publication Sport claim that Barca are preparing to offer Messi a contract worth €13 million a season – an amount that would earn him a salary similar to striker Robert Lewandowski.
Messi was passed over for the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award, which instead went to PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe, although he was nominated in the Team of the Year alongside the Frenchman.