Newell's Old Boys hopeful of signing Lionel Messi in 2018 - president

Newell's Old Boys are hopeful they can bring Lionel Messi back to the club after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when the Barcelona forward will have just turned 31.

Messi left Newell's as a 13-year-old in 2000 to move to Spain but has often suggested he will return to Rosario at the end of his career.

The club's vice president, Cristian D'Amico, is positive it is something that will eventually happen and is excited about the effect it would have on the Argentine side.

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

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

"Imagine a game with Messi in the Coloso [Estadio Marcelo Bielsa], with the press around the world, the sponsors who would come... that would make a difference and economically, apart from the sentimental value, it could make a big difference to cleaning up the debts."

D'Amico adds that the club must "change a lot in the next two years" to put themselves in a place to make the deal a possibility.

Messi himself has previously spoken about a return to Argentina, saying Newell's would be the only club he would play for in his homeland.

However, he has never been willing to guarantee that he will return if he ever decides to leave Barca.

"If I return to Argentina, something I would love to do, the club would be Newell's," he said earlier this year.

"Right now I think about the day to day and if [Argentina] happens, it will be in several years.

"The reality is that I don't know what will happen tomorrow, so I can't promise that I will return, because it wouldn't be sincere.

"I can tell you I would love to play in Argentina and for Newell's, but it depends on many things."

Messi's current deal at Camp Nou expires in 2018, although Mundo Deportivo expect him to extend his terms until 2021 at some point in the coming months.