LIONEL MESSI has hinted at a return to boyhood club Barcelona from Inter Miami after leaving with a "bitter taste" in 2021.
The Argentine football icon revealed the emotional transfer after collecting his eighth Ballon d'Or on Monday night – extending his winning record.
Due to Barcelona’s financial woes, Messi had to depart from Camp Nou in 2021 as the club could not afford to renew his contract.
The 36-year-old then headed to the French capital and joined Paris Saint-Germain until the summer of 2023.
Some fans speculated that the GOAT would go back to Barcelona but Messi chose to join the MLS instead.
But after winning football's most prestigious award for the eighth time in Paris on Monday, Messi confirmed he wants to have a proper farewell with Barcelona fans.
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He said: "There was a bitter taste when I left and I don’t like that. I'd like to change the way the story ended.
"I deserve to say goodbye to the people that gave me so much joy. If it happens I'll be very happy to be there of course."
The World Cup 2022 winner is Barcelona's all-time leading goal scorer with 672 goals in 778 appearances during his 17-year spell at the club.
And Barca president, Joan Laporta has reassured that the club will give their star player a warm welcome back.
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Fans will also be pleased that two dates for Messi’s eagerly anticipated reunion have been leaked.
Laporta revealed an official event for Messi will be held in June 2026 – when Camp Nou's stadium reservations will be complete.
Alternatively, his return could be even sooner in November 2024 when the historic ground welcomes back the first team.
For now, Messi will resume playing for Inter Miami and join the pre-season training ahead of their new MLS season which is set to kick off in February.
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