Messi makes decision on future – media
Lionel Messi is set to remain with French giants Paris Saint-Germain amid reports that the World Cup-winning captain has reached an “agreement in principle” to extend his stay with the Ligue 1 champions, apparently ending any links of a return to Barcelona.
Messi, who skippered Argentina to their first World Cup since 1986 less than a week ago, had been the subject of intense debate as to his future given that his present contract was due to expire in June 2023, meaning that he would have been eligible to discuss terms with clubs outside of France as soon as next week.
But according to football reporter Guillem Balague, an accord has been reached following intense discussions between PSG director of football Luis Campos and Messi’s father Jorge.
Discussions were also held during the World Cup in Doha with PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
This follows Barcelona president Joan Laporta’s statement earlier this week in which he said that he “would love” to reunite Messi with the faithful at Camp Nou – the venue which hosted much of Messi’s legendary career.
“For us he is the best player of all time, we have had him here and I am convinced that in his heart he is a Cule and will always be linked to Barca. Whether or not he comes back as a player, at the moment he is at PSG and we would very much love him to come back one day, but we’ll see,” Laporta added to Barca TV.
But according to Balague, discussions with PSG progressed without any official offer from Messi’s former club.
“It is practically all agreed with PSG,” Balague reported via the BBC. “Barcelona have not approached him or his dad to offer anything.
“So it is not that Messi does not want to return to Barcelona. He has not been asked the question.
“Messi is happy with it all and when back from his holidays the agreement will speed up.
“His life in Paris is balanced, happy, everybody is enjoying it and he has a real possibility of winning the Champions League again. Plus, it will help him be a candidate again for the Ballon d’Or.”
Messi, who had also been linked with David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise Inter Miami, initially signed a two-year contract with the French club after leaving Barcelona when they were unable to fulfil the terms of a contract offer due to La Liga salary cap limits.
He has scored 23 goals in 53 appearances for PSG across all competitions, compared to 672 in 778 games for Barcelona.