Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi has reiterated his desire to go back to Argentina to play for Newell’s Old Boys before he hangs up his boots.
The 32-year-old took in a spell at Newell’s in his youth before the Spanish champions were made aware of his talents and promptly offered him a place in their La Masia academy set up.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has since established himself as one of the finest players in history, becoming Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer and winning 30 major trophies at Camp Nou, including four European Cups.
Messi, whose existing deal with the Blaugrana is not due to expire until 2021, picked up his latest individual accolade in the form of FIFA’s best player award on Monday night, for his exploits last season.
The Argentina international has often suggested that he would like to return to Newell’s in the future and a clause in his current contract grants him the option to leave Barca at the end of any given campaign.
When asked by FIFA whether or not a move to Newell’s was still on his radar, Messi admitted that he is indeed hoping to fulfil a “childhood dream” before he retires.
“Yes. That’s what I’ve always said, haven’t I?,” he said.
“It’s a childhood dream of mine to play in the Newell’s shirt, though I don’t know if I can make it happen. It’s not just down to me, though. I’ve got three children.”
It seems unlikely that Barcelona will lose a prized asset before his contract runs out, but beyond that, there is every chance he could complete a transfer away from Camp Nou to see out his playing days in Argentina.
Messi went on to insist that he has no plans to move into coaching when his playing career ends, but stopped short of completely ruling out a position on the touchline at some point.
“I’ve always said that I don’t, but you never know,” he added. “I look at them and start thinking that I would like to work with youngsters, to train them and coach them, but right now I honestly can’t see it happening.
“It might happen over the new few years, though. I don’t know.”
Messi is in line for his first competitive start of the 2019-20 campaign for Barcelona this evening, as Ernesto Valverde’s men host Villarreal in a crucial La Liga clash.
The Argentine has been out of action since the start of August through injury, but he has featured as a substitute during Barca’s last two fixtures against Borussia Dortmund and Granada.