Joan Laporta, the president of Barcelona, has expressed his optimism that Lionel Messi will come back to the club this summer.
The 35-year-old Argentine star is out of contract at Paris St-Germain in June and has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.
However, Laporta told TV3, a Spanish broadcaster, that Barcelona has the history, the feelings, and the global fan base to compete with any other club for Messi’s services.
Messi spent 21 years at Barcelona before leaving two years ago but has not been happy in France, where he was booed by some PSG fans after their 5-0 victory over Ajaccio on Saturday.
Laporta said he had a “friendly chat” with Messi and congratulated him on his World Cup triumph with Argentina in Qatar last year.
He said he would wait until the end of the season to talk more calmly with Messi, who is currently a PSG player.
He added: “With all due respect to Saudi Arabia, Barca is Barca, and it is home.”
Laporta’s remarks came after Barcelona clinched their first La Liga title in four years with a 4-2 win over Espanyol on Sunday.
Laporta was more cautious than on a late night Twitch stream after the victory, where he reportedly said he would do “everything possible” to bring Messi back.