Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi was named The Best FIFA men's player for 2022 on Monday, with Alexia Putellas taking the women's honour AFP / FRANCK FIFE

Lionel Messi is reportedly strongly considering a return to his childhood club FC Barcelona ahead of the 2023 summer window.

Messi's current contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is until June and talks regarding an extension have been stalled for some time now. There are many factors behind Messi's potential decision to leave PSG, just two years after his sensational arrival in Paris as a free agent, including the Argentine forward's supposed fall-out with the club manager Christopher Galtier, reported Foot Mercato.

Earlier this week, Messi prematurely left PSG's training and refused to participate in the team's exercise session.

PSG have faced several defeats in the ongoing season, including two losses to Bayern Munich that saw Messi and Co get eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. Messi's tense relationship with PSG fans also does not help the club's aim at convincing the legendary forward to stay.

Messi's father and agent, Jorge, has already met Barcelona chief Joan Laporta a number of times, while the PSG forward has been in regular touch with Catalan club's head coach Xavi Hernandez, who was Messi's captain back in the days at Camp Nou.

In addition, PSG are not willing to abide to Messi's salary demands. Messi's representatives have informed the French club that the World Cup-winning captain wants to earn as much as his younger teammate Kylian Mbappe, according to soccer outlet PSG Talk.

It is also understood that PSG are not rushing Messi's new deal talks as they want to avoid any punishment by going against UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP). PSG were one of 10 clubs fined for breaching FFP last year. La Liga leaders Barcelona are looking to take advantage of this situation and preparing to bring back Messi, who bid a tearful goodbye to Camp Nou in 2021.

Barcelona chief Laporta even apologised to Messi for the way things panned out two years ago and the Argentina national is believed to have been happy with the phone call.

Earlier, former defender Gerard Pique, who was Messi's long-time teammate at Barcelona, backed the legendary forward to return to Camp Nou.

In an interview, speaking about Messi's future, Pique said he would not be surprised if Messi decided to stay put in Europa before adding "only he [Messi] knows his future," and the Argentine will decide "depending on his motivation" and "where he will be happiest."

"Barça could be there. For the fans, for him to return on a sentimental level would be amazing. But it's his decision. No matter how much people say, there are only his feelings, his motivation," added Pique.

In the 2022-23 season, Messi has scored 18 goals and 17 assists in 31 games in all competitions for PSG. It includes 13 goals and 13 assists in 22 league games as PSG are at the top of the Ligue 1 table with 66 points, 10 points clear of second-placed Marseille.

It was also earlier reported that Messi had received a massive offer from Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal, which would put the PSG star in the same wage bracket as Cristiano Ronaldo, who is currently contracted with Al-Nassr. Ronaldo parted ways with European football earlier this year when he accepted a two-year contract with the Riyadh-based club.

Earlier this week, Messi's father Jorge was spotted in Saudi Arabia and that further fuelled speculations about Messi's possible move to the Middle Eastern country.

Al-Hilal's offer to Messi is believed to include the same conditions as Ronaldo's, with the contract offer including not only the player's main wage but also their image rights and several contractual responsibilities.

Even though Al-Hilal are currently observing a transfer ban, it is understood that they will be in a position to sign players this summer.