Spanish football expert Guillem Balague claims Lionel Messi has no intention of returning to Barcelona and will soon sign a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar earlier this month with Lionel Scaloni’s side overcoming France on penalties in the final.
But the attention has turned back to Messi’s future with the Barcelona legend clearly able to perform to the highest level after a slightly underwhelming time at PSG.
There have been rumours that Messi could leave the French capital and return to Barcelona with his contract running out at the end of June.
Barca president Joan Laporta kept his cards close to his chest when asked about potential interest in Messi and seemed to pour cold water on the rumours.
“On the subject of Messi, we can’t generate expectations,” Laporta told Barca TV. “Messi is a PSG player and has a contract with them.
“He has won the World Cup and the Cules have been very happy. What I don’t want to do is generate expectations that at the moment are very difficult.
“For us he is the best player of all time, we have had him here and I am convinced that in his heart he is a Culé and will always be linked to Barca.
“Whether or not he comes back as a player, at the moment he is at PSG and we would very much love him to come back one day, but we’ll see.”
And Balague insists that Barcelona have not made an approach to take Messi back to the Camp Nou and PSG are on the verge of agreeing a new deal.
“It is practically all agreed with PSG,” Balague told BBC Sport. “Barcelona have not approached him or his dad to offer anything.
“So it is not that Messi does not want to return to Barcelona. He has not been asked the question.
“Messi is happy with it all and when back from his holidays the agreement will speed up.
“His life in Paris is balanced, happy, everybody is enjoying it and he has a real possibility of winning the Champions League again. Plus, it will help him be a candidate again for the Ballon d’Or.”
Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney, who played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, recently declared Messi as the greatest of all time in his eyes.
On why Messi is so hard to play against, Rooney revealed in The Times: “You want to go and press him but know that if you do, you’re not going to win the ball. There are times you can tackle him, like when he is dribbling directly at you, but usually, you’re just not going to dispossess him. You’re bigger than him but can’t use your power against him.
“A difference between Messi and nearly every other player who dribbles is that he’s always moving. There is almost never a point when he stops on the ball. He takes off with it and if his path is blocked, he’ll pass the ball to get it back. You go and press and he pops it off and then you might switch off and at that moment he comes alive.
“You see it happening a lot: he passes, the defender gets lazy for a split second, and Messi takes the return pass and is away. And it takes so much to deal with him that it’s tiring. He wears you down until he becomes almost impossible to stop.”
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