(CNN) -- Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has revealed that he believes seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher will come out of retirement and join the new Mercedes team.
The German has been a consultant with Ferrari, for whom he won five of his drivers' crowns, since he ended his career in 2006.
He almost got back behind the wheel for the Italian marque this year as a replacement for the injured Felipe Massa, but his comeback was cut short due to the lingering effects of a neck injury suffered in a motorbike accident.
However, the 40-year-old is now reportedly ready to return alongside compatriot Nico Rosberg for 2010 with German manufacturer Mercedes, who took a controlling interest in 2009's double world champions Brawn.
Di Montezemolo told reporters at Ferrari's Christmas lunch in Fiorano that Schumacher was close to sealing a deal, the UK Press Association reported.
"I hadn't spoken to him since Abu Dhabi but I spoke to him on Wednesday," Di Montezemolo said. "He phoned me and he told me that there is a very, very, very strong possibility [of joining Mercedes].
"Having said that, it is not 100 percent decided. But that is what he said."
Schumacher is poised to end a 13-year association with Ferrari if he joins Mercedes.
"The real Schumacher, the one I know, will remain forever part of the Ferrari family," Di Montezemolo told Ferrari's official Web site.
"I said it in Monza and I repeated it in Abu Dhabi, but, it seems he has a twin brother, identical in every way, who seems to have it in his head to go and race in Formula One with Mercedes.
"I don't know him personally, but it seems we have nothing to offer him -- we have two young drivers in Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, on whom we are counting to deliver a lot next year.
"I think that, this summer, when I asked him to stand in for Felipe, after the terrible accident in Budapest, he suddenly rediscovered the desire to race and the fact he was unable to follow through with that, left him a void that we are unable to fill.
"I remember how despondent he sounded on the evening of August 9, when he called me to say that the problem with his neck meant he could not race in Valencia.
"We have tried to move forward with the idea of running a third car, but for the moment, that is not possible. I don't know what he will decide for the future, but I extend to him, and indeed his twin brother, my very best wishes."