UPDATE: Hours after this article was published, FC Barcelona announced that a meeting did in fact take place with Lionel Messi, but they have had to inform him that they will be unable to sign him because they were unable to comply with La Liga's financial fair play regulations.

Messi is back in Barcelona and it is expected that his contract situation with FC Barcelona will finally be settled. The Argentine star has been a free agent since July 1, and fans are growing more anxious about the situation as the La Liga season opener draws closer.

Last week, Messi returned to Spain after a successful Copa America campaign with Argentina. He enjoyed a short holiday in Miami and the Dominican Republic before returning to Europe. Upon his arrival, he took another short break in Spanish party island Ibiza with his family and former Barcelona teammates Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas.

Now that most European players have rejoined their clubs for pre-season training, Messi has also returned to Barcelona and according to Marca, the club is confident that he will be signing his new contract "in a matter of hours."

Previous reports have claimed that Messi had already agreed to a contract extension which involves a massive 50% pay cut. However, the deal has not been signed and it has not been ratified due to the Blaugrana's financial crisis.

The problem is that even if the club and the player come to an agreement, they won't be allowed to register Messi unless they meet the salary cap as dictated by La Liga Santander's financial fair play regulations.

Barcelona had asked La Liga for flexibilty regarding Messi's situation, which the league has subsequently denied. Nevertheless, the club are hoping to get Messi to put pen to paper so that he can finally rejoin the squad in training.

Meanwhile, the club will continue to work behind the scenes to slash the wage bill and accommodate Messi. They have not had much luck in that department, managing only to sell fringe players and failing to offload their high earners.

Messi is expected to be tied down with the Catalan giants for a further five years, with the later years possibly on an ambassador role.

Argentina's Lionel Messi is thrown into the air by celebrating teammates after winning the 2021 Copa America AFP / MAURO PIMENTEL