Date set for Lionel Messi return to Barcelona after transfer snub as Joan Laporta explains why Argentine headed for Inter Miami

Lionel Messi BarcelonaGetty
  • Argentine opted against Camp Nou return
  • Heading to America instead
  • Tribute still planned in Catalunya

WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner passed up the opportunity to retrace his steps to Catalunya this summer when opting against a contract extension at Paris Saint-Germain. Barca left the door open for Messi to rejoin their ranks, with several rounds of talks held, but the Argentine icon has decided to take on a new challenge in MLS with Inter Miami. Barcelona may not have seen the last of him, though, with Laporta hoping that the South American will be back in familiar surroundings at some point in the near future.

WHAT THEY SAID: Quizzed by TV3 on when Messi could return to Spain, Laporta said: “Barca will always be his home. I met with them to make a tribute. The opening day of the Spotify Camp Nou would be an excellent date.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Laporta added on why the reigning La Liga champions missed out to Miami in the race for a much sought-after signature this summer: “Messi wanted to return to Barca. He had a very tough period in Paris. His father told me he didn’t want to have this pressure. We, the Cules, respect him. May he do very well in Miami.”

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Lionel Messi BarcelonaGetty

Lionel Messi Inter MiamiGetty/GOAL

Lionel Messi Joan LaportaGetty/GOAL

WHAT NEXT? Laporta went on to say that he remains “sad” at having had to bid farewell to Messi back in 2021 when Barca were unable to fund a new contract for the all-time great, but the memories of his 672-goal stint in Catalunya live on and there will always be a place for him at Camp Nou – with there still talk of a directorial role being taken on once the legendary 36-year-old decides to hang up his boots.