Messi's contract with Barca expires in the summer and, as he's now in the final six months of his deal, he can agree terms for a summer move away.
Needless to say, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has a host of clubs after his signature - and Spartak Moscow poked fun at themselves with a mocked-up Instagram "exchange" that the club shared on Twitter.
Pain. https://t.co/C0NZW0O4El pic.twitter.com/pNJmUbrXrT
- FC Spartak Moscow (@fcsm_eng) January 2, 2021
"Hi, Leo!" the alleged chat with @leomessi began on Spartak's screenshot - with the Barcelona captain just firmly replying "no" straight away.
Spartak shared their practical joke with the simple caption: "Pain."
Clearly the 22-time Russian champions don't really hold out much hope of getting the 33-year-old's signature on a contract before the summer. Unless Messi happens to really appreciate their self-deprecating sense of humour.
Spartak's tweet has already racked up 80,000 likes and 15,000 retweets in just a few hours. So clearly Messi - a man familiar with putting up record-breaking numbers - would be impressed. If he was actually on Twitter.
"It's possible Mateo replied," suggested one football fan, giving Spartak some hope.
"This admin is GOATed," replied another, appreciating the early January joy of a football club not taking themselves too seriously on social media.
This admin is goated :joy::joy:- Durj (@RMDurj) January 2, 2021
Admin come to barcelona- Sanil:sparkles: (@sanilfcb) January 2, 2021
It's possible Mateo replied :joy_cat::joy_cat:- Uncle Uzor's Daughter (@_Ellen55) January 2, 2021
Where Messi will really begin the 2021/22 season is, of course, still open to question.
Manchester City are one obvious possible destination, especially as it means Messi joining up with his old boss Pep Guardiola. PSG also probably have the funds to pay the Argentine's wages, while other rumours suggest Messi could yet stay at Barcelona until 2023 then leave Europe to play in MLS.
Or he could appreciate Spartak's banter so much, that Messi decides to turn the joke back on them and actually sign for the Russian giants this summer.
Stranger things have happened in football. Though admittedly not many.
Featured image credit: Twitter/PA Images
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