sport news Lionel Messi is OPEN to a return to Barcelona - but there are significant ... trends now
But Lionel Messi's return to Barça – and it wouldn't be to the Camp Nou because the club have to play at the city's Olympic Stadium next season because of building work on their ground – would have to cross various hurdles between now and next July if it is to happen.
Argentinian journalist Veronica Brunati is close enough to the Messi camp to have good knowledge of what is likely to happen to him once his PSG deal ends next summer.
But while her tweet that he will return to Barcelona next July was retweeted 13,000 times it was largely ignored by the Catalan sports papers the following day.
In part that was because Barça fans were too busy screaming scandal for the bizarre decision of match officials in their game at the San Siro on Tuesday night to not review what looked like a clear handball against Denzel Dumfries.
Lionel Messi will reportedly return to Barcelona next summer after his PSG contract expires
Messi became Barca's record scorer with 672 goals, including 120 in the Champions League
But it was also down to both the club and Messi's circle late Tuesday afternoon reassuring everyone that there had been no conversations, much less an agreement in place.
What seems clear is that Messi is open to the idea of going back.
Whether he still feels the same way after the World Cup remains to be seen. He would arrive on a free transfer, it would be a short contract - and for around a seventh of the €75million (£65m) El Mundo in 2021 revealed he was entitled to per year at Barcelona.
Barcelona are no longer in the situation they were in last season when they had to bring in four euros for every euro they wanted to spend. The financial levers pulled have given them a short-term financial health that will be boosted next summer when the can factor in Spotify's stadium sponsorship deal, something that they could not include in accounts the last time the presented their numbers to La Liga.
Sergio Busquets will be out of contract and not renewed. The hope within the club is that Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba will leave in the summer a year before the end of their contracts and player sales that could still include Frenkie de Jong's departure - although that was also the plan last summer and it failed - will free up further finances.
Some within the club will then ask why spend money on