Lionel Messi requests Barcelona to sign 2022 World Cup winner - Reports

Lionel Messi wants Argentina teammate at Barcelona if he secures summer return.
Lionel Messi wants Rodrygo De Paul at Barcelona if he secures summer return.

Lionel Messi has reportedly requested Barcelona to sign Argentina teammate Rodrigo De Paul, with whom he won the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

As per journalist Eduardo Inda for the Chiringuito de Jugones programme, via El Nacional, a person close to Messi has held talks with club president Joan Laporta. The Barcelona chief has apparently apologized to the Argentina icon for playing a role in his exit from the Camp Nou.

Messi had to leave Barca for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2021, as the Blaugrana couldn't afford his wages. A sensational return is now on the cards, with the 35-year-old's contract at the Parc des Princes expiring this summer.

Laporta would seemingly offer Messi a two-year contract with wages of around €10 million per year. The financial feasibility of a potential move for the PSG playmaker is being explored.

Messi has apparently already made a demand for Barcelona to bring De Paul to Catalonia. The two share a close relationship on and off the pitch, so much so that fans often call him Messi's unofficial bodyguard.

De Paul, who played all seven of Argentina's 2022 FIFA World Cup games in Qatar, has been with Atletico Madrid since leaving Udinese in July 2021. He has three years left on his contract after this season. Meanwhile, Barca don't have a shortage of midfielders right now.

Manager Xavi Hernandez has Gavi, Pedri, Franck Kessie, Frenkie de Jong, Pablo Torre and Sergio Busquets in the middle of the park. Busquets, 34, is out of contract in the summer, but apparently, Messi has requested Barcelona to extend the Spaniard's stay.

Rodrigo De Paul recalled conversation with Barcelona legend Lionel Messi after 2022 FIFA World Cup stumble

Rodrigo De Paul and Lionel Messi started Argentina's 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia, which La Albiceleste lost 2-1.

Hence, their subsequent group games against Mexico and Poland carried immense importance. Messi came into the World Cup knowing that it could be his last appearance in the competition.

De Paul, speaking with AFAestudio (via Indian Express) in March, recalled a heartfelt conversation with Messi following the World Cup loss:

"The most significant talk I had with Leo (Messi) was after losing to Arabia. They gave us the afternoon off to see the family, and I didn’t want to see anyone. Neither did he. They were 5-6 hours in which we told each other everything."

Argentina beat Mexico 2-0, thanks to a goal from the former Barcelona forward, and went on to win the competition for the third time.

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