Lionel Messi could finish his career back where it all started by joining Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, the club’s vice-president has claimed.
Messi joined the Rosario club when he was just six years old and scored more than 500 goals for their youth teams before being snapped up by Barcelona aged 14.
He has since gone on to become the Spanish giants’ greatest ever player and this week scored his 700th goal for the club in a draw with Atletico Madrid.
Messi, now 33, has just under a year left on his lucrative £500,000 a week contract at the Nou Camp and speculation about his future remains rife.
He is expected to extend his stay at Barca despite issues with boss Quique Setien and the club’s board, although he is yet to confirm when he will leave Spain.
Cristian D’Amico, vice-president of Newell’s Old Boys, hopes that when that day comes, Messi opts for a return to his boyhood club instead of retirement.
Talking about a sensational return for Messi while citing Diego Maradona’s brief spell at the club in the 1990s, D’Amico told TNT Sports: ‘I don’t know if it’s impossible.
‘It’s a decision exclusively made by him and his family. We have to have the best possible context to help make a decision.
‘When Maradona came to Newell’s, nobody thought that he would come either. I hope to do something similar with Leo.’
D’Amico added: ‘Obviously, that’s not to be selling smoke. It’s a difficult topic.
‘What Newell’s fan would not dream to see the best player in the world with the jersey of their team on? Time might allow such things, you have to be calm.’