Lionel Messi return to Barcelona now financially ‘feasible,’ says club

Lionel Messi returning to Barcelona would now be ‘feasible’, the club’s financial chief has said.

Messi left Barcelona for Paris St-Germain last year after the Spanish club were unable to renew his deal and stay within La Liga-imposed spending limits, with £172million required to be cut from their wage bill.

He agreed a two-year contract with a net salary of €25million per year — with the option of a third year at the same rate — and was paid the same amount in a signing-on fee.

Asked if the club could now afford to bring Messi back, economic vice president Eduard Romeu told Catalunya Radio: “If he’d come back, it would be on a free transfer, so it could be feasible in my area.

“He’s a club icon, a legend, and FC Barcelona will always be his home. But his return would be a technical decision.”

Barcelona have had their La Liga spending cap increased from -€144m to €656.5million after moving to fix their financial situation this summer.

Camp Nou chiefs pulled a number of ‘economic levers’ in order to register new signings, including selling a percentage of their domestic television rights, as well as part of their content creation hub, Barca Studios.

Those deals, worth around €800m, allowed them to recruit and register Pablo Torre, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, Ousmane Dembele, Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso.

Romeu said that while work still needed to be done to put the club on a sure footing, he believed the interventions would ensure Barcelona would not have similar issues next summer.

“We have saved the club for now, but it’s not done yet,” Romeu, who recently described Barcelona as being in an “intensive care unit” as far as their finances were concerned, said.

“The patient is still not completely healthy. It’s time to be austere, rigorous and work hard. When is the club going to be healthy again? During the five years we’ll spend here, surely. In the 24-25 season we expect to be at the level Barcelona must be.”

Romeu, who said the club had reduced its wage bill by €150million, added: “There has been a lot of movement and changes on contracts and deferred salaries. In a couple of seasons, we expect to have a reasonable wage bill in the club.

“Barcelona will not have economic problems next summer with the structures we have built so far.”

The club’s president Joan Laporta has previously said he hoped for another Messi chapter with a “more beautiful ending”.

“I would hope that the Messi chapter isn’t over,” he said, speaking to ESPN in July. “I think it’s our responsibility to try to … find a moment to fix that chapter, which is still open and hasn’t closed, so it turns out like it should have, and that it has a more beautiful ending.”

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