Lionel Messi has stoked the flames of nostalgia and speculation by starring in an emotional advert reflecting on his Barcelona journey and his inspiring transition from a hopeful young footballer to the world’s best.
Messi has teamed up with senior Champions League sponsors Mastercard to tell the iconic story of his football career. The ad comes at a timely moment, with Messi in the throes of deciding the next stage of his illustrious career.
The Argentine superstar has 12 months remaining on his lucrative Paris Saint Germain deal, though links with an emotional Barcelona return are gaining traction. Messi has been touted to make the move back to the Nou Camp following the expiration of his deal, to play under his former team-mate Xavi for the final years of his career.
Speaking about the prospect of Messi one day pulling back on the Barcelona shirt, Xavi told GOAL earlier in the season: “Messi is the greatest of all time and he will always have the door open for him at Barca.
“As long as I am Barca’s coach, he is welcome any day. I think we owe him a big tribute.
“I think that as he is under contract with PSG, there is not much we can say. But if he wants to he can come to watch training and speak to the coach. What he has given us is priceless.”
The new advert outlines Messi’s solo journey from south America as a starry-eyed youngster, hoping to make his way in the world of football.
Using CGI technology, Messi in his younger days is recreated and beamed onto the big screen, showing a time before he was the most recognisable footballer on the planet and could travel around undetected. A tear-jerking ending concludes with Messi unknowingly meeting his older self, and revealing that his love of football has not at all diminished, despite achieving almost every single honour possible within the sport.
The 34-year-old is hoping to lead Argentina to glory at the upcoming 2022 Qatar World Cup, in what looks poised to be his final major international tournament. After a mixed debut season in French football, Messi found himself snubbed from the Ligue 1 Team of the Season.
The iconic football star is expected to see out the following campaign in Paris, before looking at the options on the table to conclude his career. Speaking out on the future of his son, Messi’s father Jorge – who also acts as part of his agency – stated “I hope so” when quizzed by Spanish media on a potential curtain-call return to the Nou Camp.
The sentiments have also been echoed by Barca club president Joan Laporta, who told told Catalan outlet RAC 1 earlier this year: “My communication with Messi is no longer fluid but I’d love to have Leo here present with us during the inauguration of the new stadium.
“Camp Nou will always be his home. His departure to PSG? We did what we had to do [last summer].”
Laporta added: “I’ve received no message from Messi or his agents over a possibility of returning back to Barcelona. As of today, we are not going to be raising this issue.”