Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year contract a year ago from Barcelona as a free agent. Despite a difficult first year in the French capital with his goal output drastically dropping, the numbers have been much healthier this campaign with the Argentine netting 12 and providing 14 assists so far – but he is out of contract at the end of the season.
Messi has been refusing to answer phone calls made on behalf of a negotiator close to Laporta. Meanwhile, the Barca president had planned to meet with his former star player during his visit to the Ballon d’Or awards in Paris last month, but such attempts were unsuccessful.
The Barca president has not stopped talking up the possibility of a sensational return for Messi to the Camp Nou, telling Sport last week: “Leo knows that at Barca he always has his home. But let me not talk about Leo because he is a player for another team and we would enter again into a series of statements and counter-statements that would not benefit us at all. He has a valid contract with a European club. I can only say that Leo has been the best player in the history of Barca.”
Last year, Messi was not happy in Paris – his family were not yet able to speak French fluently, which is perhaps unsurprising, although the club had organised private language lessons for them. They were also said to miss the weather of the Catalan capital with Paris instead having a cooler climate with more rain.
Messi lived his opening months in Paris in the Royal Monceau hotel before moving to live in the Nevilly sur Seine area of Paris in a 300-square-meter house. The superstar had missed his old residence in Castelldefels – 20km outside of Barcelona – with his new house not having a football pitch, swimming pool or the extensive garden that he had grown used to, while he no longer has a scenic view of the mountains and sea.
However, his latest comment has struck a much-changed tone – claiming that he is now enjoying life in Paris a lot more. The endorsement of the city appears to pour cold waters on Laporta’s ambitions to bring him back to the Camp Nou.