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FC Barcelona could sign three world champions, including Messi

including Lionel Messi this summer. Getty Images

FC Barcelona have three winners of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar shortlisted for potential signings this summer, according to El Nacional – including their best player of all time, Lionel Messi.

With his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expiring on June 30, Messi is being linked with a potential Camp Nou return. In recent weeks, President Joan Laporta has been trying to convince La Liga that the financially strapped Catalans can use a profitability plan to make the deal work.

Messi has an offer of €350m ($375.5m) a year from Al-Hilal on the table, which El Chiringuito says he has already accepted, although his father and agent Jorge Messi have both been denied, as has the Saudi club that there is an agreement with Mundo Deportivo.

Of course, if Barca manage to keep Messi away from the big bucks and bring him back to the Blaugrana, they would sign the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner with the same kind of free transfer that saw him join PSG in 2021.

Elsewhere in the market, however, Barca could also take on his Argentinian team-mate – and scorer of the second goal in the Qatar 2022 final in which La Albiceleste beat France – Angel Di Maria for nothing in a similar deal.

According to Relevo, there is a “95-98% chance that the winger will not renew his contract with Juventus and move at the end of the season as former club Benfica are interested in enlisting his services.

The trio of Argentinian world champions is rounded off by Leandro Paredes. The midfielder is also at Juventus but on loan from PSG, where he previously shared a dressing room with Di Maria and Messi in the French capital.

With Paredes not intending to stay in Italy or France, Barca could bring him in as a cost-effective option if they can’t afford to attract the likes of Martin Zubimendi or Ruben Neves.

The former Boca Juniors star has just 13 months left on his contract so his regular Ligue 1 employers could be looking to rake in as much as they can ahead of 2023/2024 rather than see him penniless at the end of this season.

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After six years in São Paulo, I have been living in Barcelona since 2019. I’ve written extensively on these topics in the form of previews and analysis, and also covered match reports for tournaments like the Copa America. In addition to writing for Forbes Sports, I also edit Yellow & Green Football: a website about Brazilian football that is part of the Guardian Sport Network and affiliated with O Globo.

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