Lionel Messi‘s next destination has been on the minds of many people in Barcelona and indeed all over the world in recent days, but the player himself has now put an end to the speculation and made his announcement: he will be joining Inter Miami CF in MLS.
This announcement thatwould not remain in Paris next season.
Messi has confirmed and explained his decision in an interview given to Catalan papers ‘Sport’ and ‘Mundo Deportivo’ in France.
“I’m not returning to Barcelona, I’m going to Inter Miami,” Messi said.
“I heard they had to reduce salaries or sell [players] and I didn’t want to go through that.”
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Messi wary of waiting on Barcelona
Messi‘s preferred choice was in fact a return to his former club, but he didn’t want to go through the same disappointment of two years ago. Rather than wait on an impossible dream, he has taken an early decision, ending the speculation about a Blaugrana return.
“I was really excited about going back, but, on the other hand, after having gone through what I did and the exit I had, I didn’t want to be in the same situation again,” said Messi.
“Waiting to see what was going to happen and leaving my future in other people’s hands, in a manner of speaking.
“I wanted to make my own decision, thinking about me and my family.”
In the end, Messi can even be said to have done Barcelona a favour as the club can move on now from this distraction and focus on preparing a squad to defend the LaLiga Santander title. Their summer will no longer be about desperately trying to juggle the numbers, negotiate wage cuts and sell players in order to sign one man.
“I heard that LaLiga had accepted everything and given the okay for me to return, but many things still needed to be done,” said Messi.
“I heard that [Barcelona] had to sell players or cut players’ wages and to be honest I didn’t want to go through that or benefit from something that had to do with all that.
“I’ve been accused of a lot of things that weren’t true in my Barcelona career and I was a little tired, I didn’t want to go through all that.”
Mistrust in LaLiga, Barcelona?
The way things went down two years ago hurt Messi and he didn’t want to put himself in a position where he could be let down again. He didn’t want to leave Barcelona and he believed he was going to be able to stay, until at the last minute he was told otherwise.
“When I had to leave LaLiga had also accepted that I would be registered and in the end it couldn’t happen,” said Messi.
“Well, I was scared the same thing would happen again and I’d be rushing out again, like when I had to come to Paris and be in a hotel for a long time with my family, with my children going to school and still being in a hotel…
“I wanted to make my own decision and that’s why my return to Barcelona isn’t happening. Even though I would have loved it to happen, it wasn’t to be.”
Keen for a lower profile
Messi also talked about his decision to choose the United States and Inter Miami specifically over the other alternatives besides Barcelona. The 35-year-old talked about wanting to move out of the limelight and live a little more calmly.
“I’m in a place where I want to get out of the spotlight a bit, think more about my family,” said Messi.
“I spent two years where I wasn’t in a great place in terms of my family and I wasn’t enjoying it. I had that month which was amazing for me, winning the World Cup, but that aside, it’s been a difficult period for me.
“I want to rediscover enjoyment, enjoy being with my family, my sons, the day-to-day… and that played a part in the decision not to go to Barcelona.”
Rejected a bigger offer
It’s no secret that Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal have been working on a deal for Messi for months and sporting and political leaders in the country were confident that the Argentina star would soon be gracing the Saudi Pro League.
Al-Hilal were prepared to make Messi by far the best-paid footballer in history and their offer was far superior in financial terms to anything else that he had on the table.
For various reasons, however, Messi has decided to turn down the eye-watering Saudi money and accept the offer from Inter Miami, the MLS franchise owned by David Beckham. The standard of the league and the attraction of the city of Miami were said to have been big factors in his