Lionel Messi in action for Paris Saint-Germain on 3 June 2023. EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Messi headed to Inter Miami

Sports Desk, June 7 (EFE).- Argentine great Lionel Messi said Wednesday that he plans to sign with Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami after rejecting the options of returning to FC Barcelona or joining Saudi club Al-Hilal.

“I made the decision that I’m going to Miami. It is not finalized 100 percent. There are a few things left but we decided to continue down this path. If Barcelona didn’t work out, I wanted to leave Europe, get out of the spotlight and think more about my family,” he told Mundo Deportivo and Sport from his home in Paris.

The 35-year-old footballer, who parted ways with Paris Saint-Germain after the Ligue 1 season, said that he “had a lot of hope” that he would be able to return to Barcelona.

Messi’s 17 seasons with the Blaugrana included 10 LaLiga crowns, seven Copas del Rey, and four Champions League titles. His departure from Barcelona in 2021 was due to a financial crisis at the club.

“After living what I lived through and the exit that I had (from Barcelona), I didn’t want to come back to be in the same situation: to wait and see what was going to happen or leave my future in the hands of another person,” he said Wednesday.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or and 2022 World Cup winner said that he gave up on the idea of returning to Barcelona when he learned that to bring him back, the club might have to sell players or cut salaries.

Messi said that his discussions with Barcelona never progressed to the point where the club made an offer.

“There was the intention, but we couldn’t advance. We didn’t even formally discuss money,” the striker said. “If it had been a question of money, I would have gone to Arabia.”

Given the complexities of the situation, pursuing the Barcelona option would have meant “a long summer” of uncertainty, which clashed with Messi’s desire for a quick resolution.

Messi said that he and his family still want to make their home in Barcelona once his playing days are over and that he would love to have some role with the club.

“But I hope someday I can contribute something to the club and help out because it’s a club I love as I always said. I appreciate the affection I had from the people during my career and I would like to be there again, yes,” Messi said. EFE fa/dr