Barcelona’s vice-president for economy Eduard Romeu has confirmed that a signing of Lionel Messi is currently not in the club’s budget and would only be viable if the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and Camp Nou icon becomes available as a free agent stands .

Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent when his last Barça contract expired in 2021. He had agreed to an extension despite actually asking to leave in 2020 but lacked the salary and space to register it with La Liga due to the club’s poor finances.

The 35-year-old recently admitted he struggled in his first year in Paris but now “feels different”, which is evident in his vastly improved form.

Still, Barça are determined to reunite. Club president Joan Laporta boldly declared in the summer that the Messi chapter in Barcelona is ‘not over yet’ and a local report last weekend suggested the club had started exploring options to make that dream a reality .