The Argentine has netted just two domestic goals across 19 appearances since his move to the French capital this summer. Recent reports have indicated that Messi is unhappy in Paris as he has failed to settle in the city and at the club for multiple reasons, with the potential of cutting short his two-year contract at the club.
This is despite Messi landed a record-breaking seventh Ballon d’Or title in November by scooping the 2021 accolade before ranking second behind Robert Lewandowski in the 2021 FIFA Best Men’s Player awards earlier this year. Yet this is unmistakably the autumn of the superstar’s career and – just months away from celebrating his 35 th birthday – a decline in performance is inevitable.
There had even been suggestions that the Argentine may look to return to the Camp Nou to play for the Blaugrana again in his career. After all, Messi is both the record appearance holder and record goal scorer for Barca, where he spent a sensational 16 years as the main player.
However, the club’s president Joan Laporta has poured cold water on suggestions that Messi may return to the Camp Nou and added that relations had cooled since his exit last summer. It was Laporta who informed the forward that the club would not be renewing his contract despite months of speculation that an agreement was a formality.
Laporta told Catalan radio station RAC1 on Tuesday: “Now the relationship is less fluid than before. There is no contact in person. I remember him with affection and I hope he does the same for us too. But before (Messi’s exit) it was about the institution, I couldn’t put it at risk. I think I did what I had to do. I felt worse because of the family issue (Messi’s family had to leave the city and his children change schools). I haven’t received any message from Leo or those around him to return to Barça.
“We have not considered it. We are building a new team, with new people, combined with expert people. There is symbiosis. But Leo is Leo. He is the best player in the world, the Ballon d’Or winner. It is not a step backwards. We did not consider it, but he deserves respect.”
That is a development that arrived just days after Messi appeared to suggest he unexpectedly plans to retire from international football with Argentina after this summer’s World Cup finals in Qatar. Messi – who is set to feature in his fifth World Cup for the South American nation – said: “After the World Cup I’m going to have to rethink a lot of things. Whether the results are good or bad.
“Hopefully it will be in the best way. I have been happy here in Argentina for a long time. With the fans and with this team, it is nice to enjoy the successes, like winning the Copa America with a wonderful group.”