Leo Messi has revealed that he’s going to Inter Miami at the conclusion of his Paris Saint-Germain contract. He called those two years difficult, and he is preparing for the next phase, potentially final phase, of his playing career. Spanish journalist Guillem Balague said the draw of Miami exceeded the monetary offering of Saudi clubs. Barcelona, on the other hand, faced an uphill climb given its precarious financial position.
In an exclusive interview with Mundo Deportivo and Sport, Messi talked about his future. With rumors of a Barcelona return, that was one potential location. However, it never came to fruition for things out of his control.
Barcelona out of the picture
“The truth is, yes, obviously I really wanted to, very excited to return,” Messi told Mundo Deportivo, which has since been translated from Spanish. “But, on the other hand, after having experienced what I experienced and the exit I had, I did not want to be in the same situation again. Waiting to see what was going to happen and leave my future in someone else’s hands.”
Messi referred to the drama that ensued upon his exit from the club back in 2021. He looked able to rejoin the club with a reduced salary and a new contract. However, Barcelona failed to register the player as it had signed others. Messi wanted to stay back then, but that couldn’t happen. This time around, Messi put himself and his family first. Even if Barcelona was, hypothetically, going to be able to successfully register Messi, he wanted to control his future.
“It was a very ugly stage. We arrived with the illusion of each year, of starting training again and the children with their schools and their routines. When everything was ready to sign, overnight, it couldn’t be done and they tell me that it’s not possible and I have to leave the club. I had to start running and look for a team, make a hasty decision and go through everything we went through that was hard.”
Messi had seen this story before. He knew the club was not in a position to fully guarantee his arrival, just like in 2021.
“The club, today, was not in a position to confirm 100% that I could return. And it is understandable, due to the situation that the club is going through, and that is how I lived it.”
Messi lands on Inter Miami for next club
Ironically, Messi would go on to say that things are not fully guaranteed with Inter Miami either. Regardless, that is where he sees the future of his career going.
“I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami. I still haven’t closed it one hundred percent. I’m missing some things but we decided to continue the path.”
In the interview with Mundo Deportivo, Messi did not speak much about his desire to play for Inter Miami. Nor did he discuss potential offers from the Saudi Pro League. The latter had rumors of over $1 billion for a two-year contract. However, Messi did say that he wants to exit the spotlight of Europe.
“If it had been a matter of money, I would have gone to Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money to me, and the truth is that my decision was for the other side and not for money.”
Throughout the interview, Messi talked about the leaks and criticisms he received over the last two years. For many, he could not outwardly defend them, as they were simply rumors making the rounds in the media.
“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, leaving European football and much more after winning the World Cup, which was what I needed. Closing my career on this side by playing in the United States league allowed me to enjoy day-to-day much more but with the same responsibility of wanting to win and always doing things well but with more peace of mind.”
Inter Miami all but confirms Messi’s arrival
The video Inter Miami showed was only the first glimpse of Messi’s confirmation in Major League Soccer. Jorge Mas, a managing owner of Inter Miami, tweeted out a faded image of Messi wearing an Inter Miami shirt. Audiences can only see the last two letters of Messi’s name, “sí,” which translates to ‘yes,’ meaning the deal is all but done. Mas was one of the instrumental figures in organizing Messi’s arrival in MLS.
Even though the deal is not formally locked in, MLS embraces his desire to come to the United States to compete.
The New York Times provided a further look into Messi’s arrangement with Inter Miami. In addition to a roster spot free of MLS’s salary restrictions, Messi is entering a revenue-sharing agreement with both Apple and Adidas. Moreover, he will have an ownership stake in Inter Miami once his playing career ends.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ANP
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