Newell's Old Boys will make move for Lionel Messi in 2018

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Lionel Messi's fondness for his first club Newell's Old Boys is not much of a secret.

Messi was lured to Barcelona from Argentina at the age of just 13 after they were able to fund his growth hormone treatment before eventually coaching him into becoming a five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

But he has been very open about his desire to finish his playing days back in his homeland and it turns out the potential return might not be as far away as some were expecting.

According to the Old Boys' vice-president Cristian D'Amico, they could possibly negotiate a deal for Messi's return after the 2018 World Cup.

The Barcelona star will be just 31-years-old after the competition currently set to take place in Russia and - barring an incredible collapse in form - will more than likely still be considered amongst the world's best players in two years' time.

Nevertheless, D'Amico is confident a deal can be struck.

"I am convinced, like many of my peers, that we can make history as a club if we get the best player in the world in a Newell's shirt," he said, as per FourFourTwo.

"I think we're going to get the pleasure of Messi wearing the shirt."

Earlier this year, Messi was asked about a return to Argentina and his response suggested he would be very tempted in the future.

Messi told Sports Illustrated: "One day I would like to go to Argentina because I left my country at such a young age. I couldn't enjoy Rosario, my city, my people that much.

"It was a complicated time. On the one hand, it was nice, because to come and play in Barcelona was something spectacular. On the other hand, it was difficult, because I left everything behind."

It has always looked uncertain how Messi's old club would be able to finance a move for one of the world's biggest stars but Spanish publication Sport claim they are trying to seek the backing of various private companies to fund the deal.

The forward has recently made a U-turn on his decision to retire from international duty after this summer's Copa America, further improving his popularity amongst his compatriots in Argentina.

To see Messi strut his stuff in the Argentine Primera Division would do wonders for the domestic game in South America.

And D'Amico is under no illusions what a difference Messi would make should a deal be agreed.

He added: "Imagine a game with Messi in the Coloso [Marcelo Bielsa Stadium], with the press around the world.

"The sponsors who would come... that would make a difference economically, apart from the sentimental value, and could make a big difference to clean up the debts."

It is unclear what Barcelona's stance on the subject is, but D'Amico's comments might just force them into offering Messi an extended contract beyond his current deal - which expires in 2018 - sooner rather than later.

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