After receiving interest from Barcelona and Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia in addition to proposals from Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi has officially announced his transfer to Inter Miami.
After leaving Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi has announced that he will be joining MLS team Inter Miami and not going back to Barcelona.
The World Cup winner had been heavily rumored to head to the Saudi Pro League after being released by PSG. In January, Cristiano Ronaldo finalized his spectacular transfer to the Saudi club Al-Nassr, where he now makes almost £173 million a year.
By a wide margin, that contract, which also covered image rights and commercial obligations, paid the highest salary in football. Al-Hilal, a Riyadh competitor of Al-Nassr, was planning an offer for the longtime Argentine adversary this summer, but it never materialized.
Separately, Messi’s former colleague Xavi, who is currently in charge of Barcelona, the reigning Spanish champions, has been open about his ambition to sign the World Cup champion for the 2023–24 season.
Rumors that Messi will once again make his imprint at the club where he scored an amazing 672 goals throughout a 17-year career flared up after an alleged meeting between Messi’s father and agent Jorge Messi and Barca President Joan Laporta on Tuesday. He previously quit the Catalan club against his will in 2021 due to ongoing financial issues.
Messi and Barcelona’s transfer officials spoke about a prospective return to the Camp Nou in April, the transfer directors of Barcelona acknowledged. The Argentine will not be making a sensational return this summer, as predicted by Xavi and several other Barcelona players.
Messi spoke about his desire to transfer to the MLS in an interview with the Catalan newspapers Mundo Deportivo and Sport on Wednesday in Paris.
“The truth is that I had offers from another European team, but I didn’t even evaluate it because in Europe my only idea was to go to Barcelona,” Messi explained. “After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barça, it was time to go to the United States League to live football differently.
“I want to enjoy more the day to day. Obviously with the same responsibility and desire to want to win and to always do things well. But more calmly.”
He added, of a return to Barca being possible: “I wanted to return to Barcelona but I did not want to leave my future hanging in the hands of other people.
“I heard that they [Barca] had to sell players or lower players’ salaries and the truth is that I didn’t want to go through that.”
Messi did not rule out one day being connected to Barcelona again: “Hopefully, I don’t know when or what or when but hopefully one day I can still contribute something at Barcelona and help because it’s a club that I love as I always said.
“I appreciate the love I had from people during my career and I would like to be there again, yes”
Of joining Inter Miami ahead of Al-Hilal, he added: “If it had been a matter of money, I’d have gone to Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money to me. The truth is that my final decision goes elsewhere and not because of money.”