Juan Sebastian Veron has told Lionel Messi that the No 10 shirt at Estudiantes is his if he wants it, but the former Argentina international cannot see his fellow countryman severing ties with Barcelona.
A move away from Camp Nou for a one-club man has been mooted amid struggles for consistency from the Blaugrana in 2019-20.
Reports have suggested that Messi, who is only tied to a deal through to the summer of 2021, has shelved contract extension talks.
With questions being asked of the direction in which Barca are headed, transfer talk has surfaced once again around a mercurial talent that has displayed commendable loyalty throughout an iconic career.
Messi has seen moves to the likes of Inter and Manchester City mooted in the past, but the exit door has barely edged open in Catalunya.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has always ended up reaching an agreement with Barca, but there are seemingly no guarantees of history repeating itself now.
Veron is among those watching the sporting drama unfold from afar, with the ex-Lazio and Manchester United midfielder now chairman at Estudiantes. He admits that a role could be found for Messi if he wanted to head home, but the 33-year-old is still expected to settle any differences in Spain and prolong his association with Barca.
Veron told Fox Sports of his message for Messi: “If you want to come here [Estudiantes], you have the '10' ensured.
“Beyond that, I don't really imagine him outside Barcelona, but these are things that we say today and tomorrow we see him out there going to another club.
“The reality is that he is the only one who has the decision and desire; no one else knows.”
Messi is said to be growing disillusioned with life at Barca, with the Liga champions in danger of surrendering their domestic crown to arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Veron admits there are a number of issues to be addressed at Camp Nou, with one of the world’s biggest clubs finding itself in a testing period of transition on and off the field.
He said: “It is not a good period for the team, they are undergoing changes and these changes are difficult; it is difficult to find a Xavi and an [Andres] Iniesta, you will not find either. It is a moment of transition and complexity that ultimately Barcelona will have to work through in order to find the answers to all of this.”