Barcelona president discusses Lionel Messi 'one-match loan' plans

  • Lionel Messi tipped to rejoin Barcelona on loan for one match only
  • Argentine forward chose to sign for Inter Miami in summer 2023 instead of returning to Barca
  • Club president Joan Laporta has been quizzed on plans to bring Messi back
Messi left Barcelona in 2021
Messi left Barcelona in 2021 / Rodrigo Valle/GettyImages

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has dismissed suggestions the club could re-sign Lionel Messi on loan for one match only, but reiterated his intention to bring the forward back for a fitting send-off sometime in the future.

Messi ended nearly two decades of association with Barca in 2021. The club were forced to release him as they could not register his new contract in line with La Liga's strict financial regulations.

After two largely unhappy seasons in France with Paris Saint-Germain, Messi was tipped to return to Barcelona, but he instead chose to join MLS side Inter Miami.

Recent reports have suggested Barcelona are looking to bring Messi back on loan for one match to give him a more appropriate farewell, but Laporta admitted he is unsure whether this is falls in line with FIFA's rules.

Joan Laporta
Laporta would like to bring Messi back / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

"There will be time to talk about it [Messi's return]. There are all kinds of reports, but I don't think that's even allowed by FIFA," Laporta said to EFE of a one-game loan.

"We are open to doing it when they [Messi and his family] want to do it. Messi is the best player in history and, given how much we respect and admire him, of course he deserves a tribute at Barcelona.

"I don't know if it will be when we return to the Spotify Camp Nou at the end of 2024 or when the stadium is fully built by July 2026."

When asked why Barcelona didn't sign Messi during the summer transfer window, Laporta replied: "It was left a bit in limbo. In the end it didn't happen, because what he told us was totally logical. Because of the pressure he had been under in Paris, he preferred to go to Inter Miami, because that would give him a certain stability. It was a decision we respected."

Messi is set for a reunion with one of his other former sides in February when Inter Miami take on his boyhood club Newell's Old Boys.