GOAL - by Chris Burton
Lionel Messi is being backed to sign a new contract at Barcelona by German Burgos, but the Newell’s Old Boys boss expects the iconic Argentine to “pass through” where it all began for him at some stage in the near future.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner continues to see questions asked of his future at Camp Nou, with his deal running down towards free agency.
Various landing spots have been mooted for Messi, while a return to his roots has been speculated on for some time.
What has been said?
Discussing the long and short-term future for Messi with La Capital, Burgos has said: “I have the best plan for him. I believe in him. I think he can still give more.
“I don't think he'll leave Barcelona because it's his home, like Newell's is too. I think, one day, he's going to pass through here.
“Because if Diego Maradona played here, Messi will also want to play in Newell’s. I think at some point that will pass. Hopefully it will be soon.”
When was Messi at Newell’s?
An all-time great was a starry-eyed youngster looking for a big break when he first started out in his native Rosario.
Messi spent five years with Newell’s as a youngster, with a remarkable goal return within their youth ranks bringing him to the attention of leading sides in Europe.
Barca bought into that potential in 2000 as they added him to their La Masia academy.
He has gone on to become a modern day legend at Barca, making more appearances for the club than any other player - passing former team-mate Xavi on that list - and finding the target on 663 occasions in 768 games.
What has Messi said about returning to Argentina?
The 33-year-old has made no secret of the fact that he would like to head home at some point.
He told TyC Sports in October 2019: "I have the dream of being able to play for Newell's in Argentina, but I don't know if it's really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire.
"It's a dream I've had since I was little, but I have a family, I have three children, I live in a place that has given me everything and where I am calm and can give my children a spectacular future.
"We think much more about that than my desire of playing football in Argentina. I will try to convince the family, because today we have to convince the children too."