Lionel Messi has finally returned to Barcelona after his well-publicised transfer saga ahead of what could be a pivotal week for the club.
Messi, 33, told the club he wanted to leave only to eventually back down, saying that he didn’t want to engage in a legal battle with Barcelona.
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Both he and his father have reiterated their belief that he was able to leave for free but he will now spend the season in Spain.
Initially, Marca reported that Messi would take a PCR test at home rather than with the club and would only turn up to training if there was a negative result.
And the result must have been negative as pictures emerged on Monday with Messi driving to training.
It came a few hours after the club tweeted out a rather awkward picture of Messi in their third kid, looking either Photoshopped or with a particularly disgruntled Messi.
Earlier in the day La Liga president Javier Tebas admitted that he was a bit worried that Messi might leave.
"We were worried but not seriously,” Tebas said at the Liga 2020-21 launch.
“We want Messi to be with us, he is best player in history of football and we want him to end his career in La Liga. We're pleased he is staying with us + not going to another league."
Messi trains alone as he returns to Barcelona
Training will be a chance for Messi to work with the club’s new manager Ronald Koeman in person, after a conversation between the two during the off-season reportedly didn’t go well and in part led to Messi wanting to leave.
It’s also the beginning of a pivotal week for Koeman ahead of his new club’s first pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Koeman has hardly had a chance to work with his team but he now needs to integrate Messi back into the first-team squad after his public desire to leave. He will also need to decide whether Messi remains the captain or it goes to another player such as Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets or Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
On top of that Sport report that he needs to make a number of decisions regarding transfers. Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal are both set to move to Italy whilst the future of Rafinha, Miranda, Oriol Busquets, Aleñá , Wagué, Matheus Fernandes, Todibo, Trincao and Pedri are all uncertain.
Meanwhile, in terms of incomings, a debate has erupted over which midfielder they are going to sign. Koeman wants to sign Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum, who he worked with whilst manager of the Netherlands but the board are now reportedly exploring re-signing Thiago Alcantara.
Barcelona split AGAIN, this time over midfield targets - Euro Papers
Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay and Lautaro Martinez are all also being linked with joining the club.
Returning to Suarez and a report from Deportes Cuatro on Monday said that the Uruguayan was desperate to stay in Spain.
So much so that he called Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, but they were unable to get a deal done so he will go to Juventus to play for Andrea Pirlo.