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Javier Tebas has offered his support to Barcelona's attempts to bring Lionel Messi back to La Liga, but warned the Catalan giants that they will not be able to register the greatest player of his generation unless they balance their books.

Messi is increasingly likely to leave Paris Saint-Germain two years after La Liga's financial regulations left him with no choice but to depart Barcelona, whose financial circumstances were so dire that they were unable to register him even without salary. Saudi side Al-Hilal have made a €400 million a year offer and MLS club Inter Miami stand ready to tempt the Argentine, but there is a growing sense that the 35 year old wants to return to Catalonia before exiting the European stage.

La Liga president Tebas has barely hidden his displeasure with Barcelona's financial model over recent years, refusing to treat Messi as a special case when he left in 2021 and vowing to block the use of the 'economic levers' by which president Joan Laporta strengthened Xavi's squad last summer, selling off stakes in broadcast rights and club businesses to fund transfers.

His stance remains no less steadfast two years on despite the relative lack of star power in La Liga since Messi's departure. Speaking from La Liga's Extraordinary Assembly on Wednesday, Tebas said: "Today they can not register Messi, but hopefully they manage it. There is plenty of time left.

"We are waiting for a viability plan, they can sell players, [but] today it is difficult. Hopefully, as a league, Barca will make the necessary moves for Messi to come, but we will not change any rules so that they can sign Messi. That is what we expect. I would like Messi to play in this competition."

The plenty of time left may or may not work in Barcelona's favor. The club has found itself mired in a refereeing scandal that has brought with it a war of words against Laporta before this week morphing into a shocking public feud with Real Madrid over who was the "club of the regime" of of General Francisco Franco, Spanish dictator from 1939 to 1975.

There is also the not insignificant matter of who could be sold to raise funds. Last summer Barcelona attempted to push Frenkie De Jong out of the door to no avail and the Dutchman has only grown more critical to Xavi's plans. Relatively few other players could command big fees, those that might -- Pedri, Gavi (if a new contract for him is greenlit by La Liga), Jules Kounde and perhaps Ousmane Dembele -- ought to be in Barcelona's plans for life after Messi even if he does return.