Messi arrived at Barca aged just 13 and won 35 trophies AFP / Lluis GENE

It has been over two years but the football world still can't over how Lionel Messi left FC Barcelona on a somewhat bitter note in 2021, casting a shadow on what should have otherwise been a glorious relationship between the player and the club.

Now, after having played for French side Paris Saint-Germain and later signing for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami, the Argentine is insisting that he wants to be able to bid Barcelona fans a proper goodbye.

Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory and has since been making waves in the United States. He was recently awarded a record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or trophy in Paris, where he took the opportunity to speak about a possible Barcelona tribute match during the press conference after the ceremony.

The topic was brought up after Barcelona sporting director, Deco, claimed that Messi deserved a farewell tribute match at the Camp Nou.

When asked about that idea, Messi said: "I don't know if there's a tribute game that's going to happen, but obviously I would love to say goodbye to the people [of Barcelona] in another way because there was a strange feeling when I left. I believe it was not good with everything that we shared and lived together, and with everything that the club gave and I gave back to the club."

In the summer of 2021, it was fully expected for Barcelona to offer Messi a contract extension and newly-elected president Joan Laporta even made that renewal the backbone of his campaign. However, the club was forced to admit that their dire financial situation simply made it impossible for them to extend the Argentine's contract because they could not afford it.

They were struggling to offload players and slash salaries just to be able to get within La Liga's salary cap under the Financial Fair Play regulations. As such, offering Messi a new contract was impossible unless he was to play for free.

The whole situation left a sour taste in the mouth of everyone involved, including Messi, who claimed that he never wanted to leave Barcelona. Instead, he was forced to accept a generous bid from PSG, where he struggled to adjust and endured a miserable two seasons.

"I think I deserve to be able to say goodbye to people who I shared many good and bad moments during my career. Barcelona is my home. I love the club, and the people of Barcelona. If a tribute happens, I would love to be there," Messi added.

Indeed, the years that Messi spent with Barcelona were glorious, but were quite rocky towards the end. His final two seasons were a rollercoaster, including the infamous burofax incident wherein he asked for a transfer back in 2020. A year later and after the return of Xavi Hernandez in a managerial role, Messi had a change of heart and wanted to stay, but the club could not keep him.

His contract was left to expire and PSG came swooping in, leaving Barcelona fans in utter disbelief.

He was quickly whisked off to Paris with his family, and he was never given the chance to have the massive farewell in front of the Culers that he truly deserves.

Messi moved to Barcelona as an adolescent and made his professional debut way back in October 2004 at the age of seventeen. He won 10 La Liga titles, seven Copa Del Rey trophies and four Champions League trophies during his time at Barcelona. During that period, Messi scored 672 goals in 778 appearances.

Needless to say, the way he left quietly without so much as a wave goodbye is something that he regrets. Barcelona fans are eager for the opportunity to see him back, but it seems that the chances are slim that he could rejoin the club.

Nevertheless, a tribute match may still materialise, and he could later return on an administrative role once his playing days are over.