Barcelona president Joan Laporta says the club is Messi’s “home” as they look to re-sign the forward this summer.
Messi, whose contract with Paris Saint-Germain will expire soon, is currently weighing his options for the future, with a return to Barcelona and a lucrative transfer to Saudi Arabia being the primary choices considered by the player.
However, the financial constraints faced by Barcelona mean that several factors must align for a potential move to materialise. Reports suggest that the Catalan club need to reduce their wage bill by approximately £180 million in order to make significant signings.
But in an interview with Spanish broadcaster TV3, Laporta said Barcelona can compete with anyone for the 35-year-old’s signature.
“History backs us, the feelings are too strong, we have 400 million fans around the world too,” he said.
Messi left the Catalan giants two years ago after 21 years at the club but has struggled during his two seasons in France, with fans booing him after their 5-0 win over Ajaccio at the weekend.
Laporta said there had been an “affectionate conversation” between the two and that he congratulated Messi on winning the World Cup in Qatar last year.
“He is a Paris St-Germain player and we have to wait until the end of the season, until it is over, and then we can talk more calmly about this,” Laporta added.
“With all due respect to Saudi Arabia, Barca is Barca, and it is home.”
Messi’s relationship with Laporta has been questioned, with the pair reportedly falling out when the player was forced to leave for PSG in 2021, but the Barcelona president insisted that all was now well between the two.
“I have spoken with him recently to rectify the situation after I had to put the club before everything, even him, the best player in the world,” he explained.
“It was a pleasant conversation. We have recovered the relationship we have had for many years.”
The comments come after Barcelona won their first La Liga title in four years with a 4-2 win over Espanyol on Sunday.
Laporta appeared to be more reserved than during a late night Twitch stream after the win, on which he is reported to have said the club would do “everything possible” to sign Messi.