Messi shocks fans with Inter Miami move turning away from Barcelona and Saudis
Lionel Messi announced on Wednesday that he will be joining Inter Miami, a Major League Soccer team, as his next destination, potentially marking the end of his highly successful playing career.
His current two-year contract is set to conclude this summer, and both parties mutually agreed to part ways after Messi was suspended for two weeks in May due to an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia.
Messi stated that he had made the decision to go to Miami and added that he hadn't finalized everything 100% yet. He mentioned that there were still some loose ends, but they had decided to move forward on that path.
Messi's decision to move across the Atlantic came as a surprise to many, as it was widely speculated that he would follow in the footsteps of his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo and secure a lucrative deal with a club in Saudi Arabia.
Others believed he would return to Barcelona, the club where he rose to become one of the greatest players of all time.
However, Messi clarified the reasons behind not pursuing an emotional return to Barcelona.
The allure of Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami proved irresistible to Messi for several reasons, including lifestyle considerations and off-the-field endorsements with prominent brands that extend beyond football.
Furthermore, he already owns a property in Miami, which he currently rents out.
Messi explained that if things didn't work out with Barcelona, he wanted to leave Europe, step out of the limelight, and focus more on his family.
He expressed that he had initially been eager to return to Barcelona but mentioned his previous experiences and the circumstances of his departure, which he did not wish to repeat.
He recounted that he had heard about the club's need to sell players or reduce their salaries, and he did not want to endure another uncertain situation.
Messi emphasized that if it had been solely about money, he would have gone to Saudi Arabia or somewhere else.
He mentioned that it appeared to be a substantial amount of money, but he clarified that his decision was based on other factors rather than financial gain.
During his time at Paris St-Germain, Messi won Ligue 1 in both seasons but experienced an early exit from the Champions League in the round of 16, which was not considered a major success.
In his time with the club, he found the back of the net 32 times in 75 games, wrapping up the latest season with an impressive record of 16 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1.
Messi's illustrious legacy primarily stems from his tenure at Barcelona and his triumph in the World Cup with Argentina in December.
He left Barcelona in 2021 after spending 21 years at the club due to their financial difficulties.
With 672 goals, Messi holds the record as Barcelona's all-time leading scorer and has secured 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, and seven Spanish Cups.
Joan Laporta, the president of Barcelona, demonstrated his comprehension and admiration for Messi's desire to engage in a league that entails less pressure, resides in a more discreet position, and features fewer demanding circumstances.