Barcelona president reiterates Lionel Messi return talk: ‘We have a moral debt to him’

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has reiterated his desire to see Lionel Messi end his career at the Catalan club.

Laporta told ESPN last week that Messi’s story with Barca “is not over.” Coach Xavi Hernandez has said a return this summer is “impossible” but there is a window next year when the Argentine forward’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain is set to expire.

“It is an aspiration that I have as president and I would like it to happen,” Laporta told reporters at an event in New York when asked about Messi retiring at Barca.

“I was co-responsible for an ending that I consider provisional. Messi’s story at Barca did not end as we all wanted, it ended conditioned by financial reasons and we have a moral debt to him.

“In that sense, we would like the end of his career to be with the Barca shirt on, applauded at every stadium he plays at.”

Messi, 35, was forced to leave for PSG last August because Barcelona could not afford to renew his contract due to financial problems.

However, the sale of 25% of their domestic television rights for the next 25 years, worth over €600m according to Laporta, has allowed Barca to heavily invest this summer, with Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde all joining the club.

Author: Lucy Green