‘This is his home’ – Ronald Araujo hoping there is truth in Lionel Messi to Barcelona transfer rumours
- Argentine running down contract at PSG
- Heading towards free agency
- Talk of a return to Catalunya
WHAT HAPPENED? Speculation regarding the South American’s future is raging once more, with the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner yet to commit to a contract extension at Paris Saint-Germain. With free agency beckoning once more in the summer of 2023, there has been renewed talk of the mercurial 35-year-old retracting steps to Catalunya after two years in the French capital.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Araujo, who played alongside Messi at Barca prior to his departure for Parc des Princes, has told infobae when asked if he would like to have the 2022 World Cup winner alongside him once more: “I would love it if he could come back. He is the best player in the world and this is his home. His return would help us a lot to try to win another Champions League. Hopefully there are chances to have him again. We all want him by our side.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Araujo joined Barca in 2018 and savoured Copa del Rey glory in a Messi-inspired side during the 2020-21 campaign, with the 24-year-old Uruguay international defender adding on what it was like to work with the all-time great: “We have a very nice friendship. When I got to the first team, he was always with Lucho (Luis Suarez) and they invited me to drink mate with them. They received me very well. And when Lucho went to Atletico de Madrid, I took his place and always sat next to Leo. He is a spectacular person. Everybody knows what kind of footballer he is, but as a person he is also amazing. He is a winner, and he shows it on and off the pitch. History constantly demonstrates all that he has won. We would be delighted to have him play with us again.”
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WHAT NEXT? Barca would need to free up funds again from summer sales in order to finance a move for Messi, with the Liga giants – who have been caught up in a corruption storm this season – continuing to manage their way through financial difficulties heading into a Clasico clash with arch-rivals Real Madrid on Sunday.