Lionel Messi’s father Jorge has dropped the biggest hint yet that his son will return to Barcelona following his disappointing debut season with Paris Saint Germain.
As Jorge touched back down in Catalonia after visiting Lionel in Paris, Spanish Twitch channel Jijantes FC managed to get a quick word with him. They asked him how his son was doing and whether he was happy in the French capital, and for the most part Jorge stayed professionally tight-lipped.
But just before he jumped in his car to leave the airport, Messi Sr let slip that he “hopes Leo can return to Barcelona, one day.”
Messi was forced to quit Barcelona last summer with the club in financial meltdown and fiscal restrictions meaning they were unable to afford his contract. He stunned the world by announcing he was leaving in a teary press conference in August, during which he admitted that he wanted to come back to the club “one day”.
Less than a week later the Argentine megastar signed for PSG, and despite helping the French giants reclaim the Ligue 1 title, and bagging a boat-load of assists along the way, he hasn’t lived up to the stratospheric standards he’s set for himself over the past decade-and-a-half.
Goals aren’t the only way to judge a man’s success, but 11 in 33 appearances for the club is a tepid return, especially after averaging 48.5 per season for the past 13 years.
Messi’s inability to change PSG’s fortunes in the Champions League also remains a sticking point, and he and Neymar were booed heavily by their own fans after being knocked out by Real Madrid earlier this year.
With Barcelona’s finances – as well as the team’s on-field fortunes – on the mend, a fairytale return to Barcelona could well be on the cards, particularly as Messi will be entering the second and final year of his PSG contract this summer – providing his doesn’t exercise his option to extend it.
Messi’s career at Barcelona was perhaps the finest in football history and for it to have ended in such anti-climactic fashion feels like a crime, and no doubt Jorge isn’t the only one out there hoping that fate brings player and club back together one last time.