LIONEL Messi has flown to Barcelona to celebrate his wife’s birthday hours after providing two assists for Kylian Mbappe in a PSG win.
Overnight Messi was pictured returning to the city where he made a name for himself with a huge grin on his face.
Messi en el aeropuerto del Prat (Barcelona). 🇪🇦
Luego del partido contra el Saint Étienne tomó un vuelo y ahora esta en Barcelona.#Messi𓃵 #Barcelona pic.twitter.com/48wUIxMiiG
A Spanish TV crew filmed him arriving at Barcelona’s El Prat airport with his PSG tracksuit top still on.
He quickly jumped on a plane following his side’s 3-1 home win against St Etienne.
Messi, whose form has been criticised since his shock signing for the Ligue 1 side, put on an impressive show as he helped Real Madrid target Mbappe bag another two goals.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner looked happy and relaxed and couldn’t resist a smile as he came across waiting journalists.
It was his second visit to the Catalan capital in a month, with his last one sparking speculation he could be discussing a return to his boyhood club.
It's understood the 34-year-old dad-of-three is there as part of his wife's birthday celebrations.
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He marked Antonela Roccuzzo's birthday yesterday by posting an Instagram snap of him with his arms round the pretty brunette.
Roccuzzo was dressed in a bikini on a boat, with Messi captioning the post: "Happy Birthday my darling. I hope you have a beautiful day. I love you," followed by a heart emoji.
When he was in Barcelona last month the superstar forward was spotted at a restaurant with ex-teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.
They dined together on January 24 along with their wives at a Japanese restaurant.
Pepe Costa, Messi’s friend and advisor who left Barcelona when the dad-of-three quit the club at the end of last season to move to PSG, also joined them.
Messi posed for selfies and signed autographs on Barcelona shirts for fans who were waiting for the Argentinian as he left, but declined to speak to journalists who had amassed outside the upmarket eatery.
It was initially claimed the soccer star had been celebrating Barcelona boss Xavi's 42nd birthday in the restaurant, although it later emerged they had coincided in the restaurant by chance.
Messi's January return to the home where he spent most of his career came days after Barcelona man Dani Alves publicly plead for Messi to follow in his footsteps and return to the club to finish his career.
The Brazilian told a Catalan radio station: "Sometimes things don't happen as we dream. I already told him that he is not going to be in any better place than here.
"He told me the same when I left. It would be very good if Messi finishes his career here."
It is not yet clear what Messi has planned for Roccuzzo in their lightning trip to Barcelona, where they still own a home.
Her close friend Sofi Balbi, wife of Messi’s former teammate Luis Suarez, has been among those taking to Twitter to wish her Happy Birthday.
Roccuzzo, who married Messi in a glitzy wedding in the Argentinian city of Rosario where they hail from in June 2017, replied to Messi’s romantic message by writing: "Thank you my love. I love you."
A never-seen-before photo of the childhood sweethearts, taken nearly two decades before they became man and wife, was published by Argentinian newspaper La Capital in April 2019.
Messi was playing in a youth football tournament in the nearby city of Balcarce.
Roccuzzo, who was about to turn ten and was already a close friend of the footballer, had travelled to the area with her parents to see her cousin Lucas Scaglia who was one of Messi’s teammates.
The couple now have three children – Thiago, nine, Mateo, six, and Ciro, three.
One fan tweeted after the PSG win on Saturday: "This is the best Messi and Mbappe have clicked together."
The Argentine set up his team’s first two goals, both scored by Mbappe.
The Frenchman’s double took his tally this season to 24 and he went on to set up PSG’s third goal, scored by Danilo Pereira.
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