The chances of Lionel Messi leaving Paris Saint-Germain to complete a sensational return to Barcelona are increasing, sources have told 90min.
The legendary 35-year-old moved to Paris in the summer of 2021 after Barcelona's precarious financial position left them unable to negotiate a new contract, bringing down the curtain on a 21-year association with the club.
Messi's departure stunned the football world, with club officials, supporters and the player himself believing that he would only ever play for Barcelona in his career.
He arrived in the French capital tasked with delivering a first Champions League success alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, but PSG are no closer to achieving that objective after crashing out of this season's competition to Bayern Munich at the round of 16 stage.
Messi's contract is officially up in the summer - although PSG have a 12-month option to extend that the player must also agree to - and the Ligue 1 giants have attempted to negotiate fresh terms with the Argentine, his father and representatives. They even believed they were closing in on agreement after his successful return from the World Cup.
But although discussions over a new contract have been amicable, PSG's hopes of tying Messi down have quickly disappeared and talks have been held with other interested parties.
Saudi Arabian outfit Al Ittihad have tabled an offer, while David Beckham owned Inter Miami have also put forward proposals to Messi - both of which have been considered.
But it's a fairytale return to Barcelona that is beginning to look more and more realistic, with the Catalan giants desperate to return Messi to where they feel is his home.
Even before the World Cup, Barca president Joan Laporta made it clear that he wanted to re-sign Messi, and sources have confirmed to 90min that the player's stance on working with Laporta has softened. Indeed, his father Jorge met with Laporta recently for talks and they are understood to have gone well.
Messi is currently back in his homeland readying to play for Argentina in friendlies against Panama and Curacao - his first outings since the World Cup - and two goals in those games will make him just the third player ever, behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Ali Daei, to have scored 100 international goals.
While he focuses on on-field matters, Messi’s representatives are working away on contractual details with his potential suitors, and sources have told 90min that he is edging ever closer to a Barcelona return - and that such a beneficial outcome for his family is likely to have a major bearing on his decision.
Barcelona remain in financial trouble, meaning it will be difficult to conclude any deal, but Laporta reaffirmed in an interview with American YouTuber Joe Pompliano that the club's doors remain open for Messi to return through.
"Messi is the best player in history, he is a player who came through our academy, he is the important player in our history - he is also a player of PSG and have to respect that," he said.
"Messi knows we have him in our heart, part of our club - when I came back the legacy was not good and I had to make decisions but I need to find a way to improve the relationship between Messi and us and we will see.
"I can’t say more but we will see, but he knows the doors of Barcelona are open but we respect he is currently with PSG and he is in a great moment with Argentina."