Lionel Messi has announced his deicison to join Inter Miami on a free transfer following his Paris Saint-Germain exit, opting for a new challenge instead of re-joining former club Barcelona.
Barca were confident of re-signing the 35-year-old from Paris Saint-Germain for most of 2023, with Messi’s father Jorge even saying his son wanted to return to the club where he scored an astonishing 672 goals in total. in 778 appearances – both club records.
Messi has also been offered an eye-watering €400m-a-year to join Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal this summer – a figure far higher than the sums paid to Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, who joined Al Ittihad on Tuesday.
But it is Miami and Major League Soccer where Messi will continue his work, with a box-office hit from the player himself in a joint interview with Mundo Deportivo and SPORT confirming he will be heading to Florida to continue his career.
“I decided to go to Miami,” Messi said. “I still haven’t closed it one hundred percent. I’m missing some things, but we decided to continue the journey.”
“I had offers from other European teams but I didn’t even evaluate them because my idea was to go to Barcelona. If the Barcelona thing didn’t work out, then leaving European football, much more after winning the World Cup, was what. ” I needed. To finish my career in this side and live the United States League in a different way, enjoying day by day much more but with the same responsibility of wanting to win and always doing things well, but with more calmness.”
Inter Miami quickly followed up the publication of Messi’s interview in Spain with their own video, poking fun at reports in recent months skeptical of MLS and linking him with Barcelona or a move to the Saudi Pro League.
Earlier on Wednesday that MLS and Inter Miami sensed there was an opportunity to pry Messi away from Barcelona, largely because of a financial package that included payments from the league’s biggest business partners in Apple and adidas.
It will be the first time Messi has played senior football outside of Europe, having enjoyed 17 years in the Barcelona first team before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain – where he won Ligue 1 in two consecutive seasons.
Crucially, however, Messi was unable to lead PSG to their first Champions League success despite playing in a dream trio alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.