Barcelona already planning Messi’s pre-season return

Robin Bairner
Lionel Messi, Barcelona, 2020/21

Lionel Messi might technically be a free agent, having seen his contract with Barcelona expire on 30 June, but the Catalan club are planning on welcoming him back for pre-season.

Messi is presently on Copa America duty with Argentina, who he has led to the final of the competition following some brilliant individual displays.

His club future, though, is not settled, with Barcelona fighting to find a solution that will allow him to sign a new contract.

Messi has long stressed that he would settle his future following the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Barcelona have insisted that a deal is close for several weeks, but events have suggested that they could struggle to free up the money necessary to re-sign the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Firstly, they have seen an appeal to La Liga designed to increase their wage cap rejected by president Javier Tebas, while reported attempts to free up funds by releasing Miralem Pjanic and Samuel Umiti from their contracts have also failed.

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Despite these concerning signs, head coach Ronald Koeman is planning his pre-season campaign with Messi in mind.

The Dutch head coach intends to give Messi three weeks of holiday after the Copa America – the minimum length of time that Barcelona’s players have been afforded this summer.

Koeman does not expect the Argentine to be present when Barcelona go to Germany on a pre-season training camp that runs from 28 July until 3 August.

Indeed, it is expected that Messi will restart training on 2 August with the aim of being ready for a friendly with Juventus the following Sunday.

Spain’s Euro 2020 stars Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets will return to training on 28 July, while Pedri and Eric Garcia are set to travel to the Olympic Games with the Spain Under-23 squad, completing an intense summer for the young pair.