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Lionel Messi faces Barcelona ultimatum following Inter Miami transfer claim

Irish Mirror logo Irish Mirror 30/11/2022 Colin Millar

Lionel Messi is facing a key decision over his future with Barcelona keen for a sensational return as his contract at Paris Saint-Germain enters its final stages.

Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year contract a year ago from Barcelona as a free agent after the Blaugrana were unable to extend his contract due to their financial problems. A report has claimed Messi has agreed to join MLS club Inter Miami at the end of the current season although his representatives have labelled that as ‘fake news’.

Last year, Messi was not happy in Paris – his family were not yet able to speak French fluently, which is perhaps unsurprising, although the club had organised private language lessons for them. They were also said to miss the weather of the Catalan capital with Paris instead having a cooler climate with more rain.

However, Messi spoke about his change of heart earlier this month by underlining the fact that he was now happy in the French capital – in a possible hint over his future and a suggestion that he may renew his deal at the Parc des Princes.

The comments came as Messi has been refusing to answer phone calls made on behalf of a negotiator close to Barcelona president Joan Laporta. Meanwhile, the Barca president had planned to meet with his former star player during his visit to the Ballon d'Or awards in Paris last month, but such attempts were unsuccessful.

"I like Paris a lot more now, I have discovered the city and I find it magnificent," claims Messi, in quotes carried by Le Parisien. "In the first year, there was a huge change. Things happened very suddenly, it was not my objective to leave Barcelona, and everything about it was very abrupt.

Lionel Messi has re-found his goal scoring form for PSG this campaign after a difficult debut season © Lionel Hahn/Getty Images Lionel Messi has re-found his goal scoring form for PSG this campaign after a difficult debut season

Have Your Say! Where do you think Messi will be playing next season ? Tell us what you think here.

"After this long period and the difficult times, I am happy to live where I live, and my family and I are enjoying Paris. It was hard at the start, we had stayed all our lives in the same place, I had never moved, and I did not know what it was like to leave.

"We did not expect this, it happened very quickly, and we had to leave Barcelona overnight. We found ourselves in a new environment. We had our life in Barcelona, our friends, our habits, and we found ourselves in a different place, with another language, another football, another climate, I suffered a lot from that. It was hard. But, today, I enjoy everything including football."

Any possible return to Barcelona would be dependent upon the club’s financial position, but radio station Cadena Cope outlined this week that the Catalan club would actually need to reduce their wage bill from its current outlay of approximately €600million to just €400m for next season – meaning that any return for Messi.

Messi left Barcelona last year in a tearful farewell press conference © AFP via Getty Images Messi left Barcelona last year in a tearful farewell press conference

La Liga’s president Javier Tebas, whose league oversees the regulations for wages and outgoings for its 42 member clubs, has suggested that any possible return for Messi to the Camp Nou would have to come with a significant wage cut – regardless of savings made elsewhere at the club.

"I don't know what he [Messi] wants," Tebas explained at a ceremony for the Spanish Ejecutivos magazine on Wednesday. "First of all, if he wants to leave PSG; secondly, if PSG will let him leave; and, thirdly, it then depends on what he earns, right?

"If all these three things fall into place and it's an affordable amount for Barcelona, inside our [La Liga's] financial regulations, he will return. But it depends on what he earns. If it's what he earned when he left [in 2021], then no. With the amount Messi earns [at the moment], only PSG can afford him."

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