Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has admitted he would be happy to see Lionel Messi return to Barcelona this summer, despite the obvious consequence of one of the greatest players of all time joining his club’s fiercest rival.
Messi is nearing the end of his Paris Saint-Germain contract, having spent two seasons in the French capital, bringing the 35-year-old to a fresh career crossroad.
Beyond Barcelona’s very public confidence of securing a reunion, 90min reported earlier this month that PSG accept a new deal with Messi is unlikely. A return to Camp Nou, where he spent 21 years until the summer of 2021, is now the more likely outcome.
Talks with Barcelona are planned and Messi himself has spent time in the city over the last few days, spotted out for dinner with former teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba on Monday.
Even turning 36 at his next birthday in June, Messi would undoubtedly strengthen Barcelona, already set to win La Liga ahead of Real Madrid this season. But it doesn’t bother Ancelotti, who instead suggests it will benefit Spanish football as a whole – Messi means more eyes back on La Liga.
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“Messi can do whatever he wants and Barcelona too. It’s not an issue for me,” the Real coach said. “I like him as a player. For Spanish football it could be nice to have him. But it’s a matter for Messi and Barcelona.”
Messi famously wanted to leave Barcelona in 2020 out of frustration with how the club was being run under former president Josep Maria Bartomeu. But by 2021 he was happy to stay and even agreed a new contract until potentially 2026.
However, that deal could not be registered due to La Liga’s spending rules, which have crippled Barcelona in recent seasons as a result of the poor state of club finances. With no choice but to leave, Messi became a free agent and opted to join PSG on a two-year contract.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner struggled by his usual standards during his debut season in France but has been much more at home in 2022/23. That being said, his ties to Barcelona, both the club and the city, remain incredibly strong, having spent a third of his life there at the time he left.