FC Barcelona leaders including president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco have confirmed that club legend Lionel Messi will have a farewell match to honor his legacy once the Spotify Camp Nou has been renovated.
Messi left Barca in tears in 2021 shortly after Laporta had been elected for a second reign with the Catalans.
He had promised Messi’s contract renewal as part of his mandate on the campaign trail, but then failed to deliver this when Financial Fair Play issues arose.
This led the Argentine to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, but there were strong rumors that Messi could wear Barca’s colors when his two-year deal at the Parc des Princes expired this summer.
Turning down a huge offer from Al-Hilal in the Middle East, Messi opted to sign for Inter Miami in the MLS where he has been a roaring success so far.
And though he shut down rumours of playing under head coach and former teammate Xavi Hernandez on loan in the winter during the MLS off-season, after being probed on the potential development this week, Messi is still expected to grace Camp Nou again as confirmed by Deco and Laporta.
Speaking to football newspaper Lance! in his birthland Brazil, Deco confirmed a “farewell game” for Messi when the iconic stadium is ready.
“He will always be the biggest idol in the club’s history. The club had great idols, like [Johan] Cruyff, Ronaldo – but he is perhaps the greatest of them all.
“He will definitely play a farewell game at Barcelona, but when that will be, we don’t know. He’s playing, and hopefully he’ll play for more years, because people who like football, who like him, will be happy to see him happy,” Deco added.
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In an appearance on El Mati de Catalunya Radio Thursday morning, however, Laporta tried to offer two possible dates and revealed that there had been talks with Messi’s camp on the matter.
“It would be fantastic if Messi could be at the opening match at Camp Nou. It’s been talked about and if it was in June 2026, that would be when the Spotify Camp Nou is finished,” Laporta said.
“We’ll be back in November 2024 and it could be an important date too. Let’s see. We would like and hope that it can be done.”
In the interview where he addressed accusations of bribery, Laporta yet again explained the steps that led to Messi choosing Inter Miami as his next destination and not Catalonia.
“We proposed that he come back for the beginning of this season. He told us what he thought, he made a decision: [that] he didn’t want to the pressure of Paris for another year and that he preferred to go to Inter Miami.
“We appreciate him very much and told him that we would pay tribute to him,” Laporta concluded on this.