The Argentinian has had an illustrious career with the Catalans. He is considered by many to be “one of, if not the best.” As Messi is nearing the final hours of his soccer career, many want to see him have a last dance at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi's 91 Goals in a Calendar Year.
Watch and be Blessed! pic.twitter.com/DllLpbtYIM
— 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐋𝐄𝐒 (@ChaaliiyKay) March 16, 2023
Messi’s move to Paris Saint Germain in 2021 was full of controversy. The economic situation in Barcelona was a major contributor. The club’s reported debt was over 1 billion euros, putting it in serious financial distress. The club reportedly had trouble meeting the salary demands of its players, including Messi, who was asked to take a pay cut in order to remain with the club.
The team’s lackluster play in recent years also likely played a role in Messi’s decision to leave Barcelona. Barcelona’s dominance in La Liga was in jeopardy due to the ascent of their bitter rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, and the club had not won the UEFA Champions League since 2015.
How do you explain to someone that Lionel Messi scored a goal starting from here without passing to a team mate? Without losing the ball? pic.twitter.com/oRF5xanqta
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) March 16, 2023
Messi’s contract with PSG will expire soon. So, could we see the 2022 World Cup champion play for the Catalans again in the next season?
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How likely is it for Lionel Messi to potentially return to Barcelona next season?
As if Barcelona weren’t already in enough trouble, recent developments suggest the club may be barred from competing in the Champions League. The scandal at hand concerns allegations that FC Barcelona bribed Jose Negreira, a former vice president of Spain’s Technical Committee of Referees, to influence game outcomes.
The payments were first publicly revealed in February on the Catalan radio show Que t’hi jugues. According to reports, the total amount of these investments made through Negreira’s Dasnil 95 company between 2016 and 2018 is close to $1.5 million (or €1.4 million). From 2001 until 2018, it is alleged that the payments amounted to nearly €7 million ($7.5 million).
Article 4.01, Section G, of UEFA’s Champions League regulations statutes, states: “To be eligible to participate in the competition, clubs must not have been directly and/or indirectly involved, since the entry into force of Article 50(3) of the UEFA Statutes, i.e., April 27, 2007, in any activity aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of a match at national or international level, and confirm this to the UEFA administration in writing.” UEFA may impose a “sanction effective only for one football season” on the offending club.
Since Barcelona currently tops the La Liga table by nine points, it is quite likely that the Catalans will qualify for next season’s Champions League. If they are found guilty, however, they will be denied admission to the UCL for the upcoming 2023–2024 season.
Although PSG’s run in the tournament ended in the round of 16, everyone knows that Lionel Messi isn’t satisfied until he wins a fifth Champions League. And, even though his return is not completely impossible, given the potential exemption of Barcelona from the next UCL, we believe it is unlikely that Messi will make his return to Camp Nou next season.