Following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi revealed his choice to join Inter Miami on a free transfer, choosing a new challenge over a reunion with his previous team Barcelona.
For a good portion of 2023, Barca was optimistic in re-signing the 35-year-old from Paris Saint-Germain. Messi’s father, Jorge, even expressed a desire for his son to rejoin the team where he set both club records with 672 goals and 778 appearances.
In addition, Messi had received an eye-popping offer of €400 million per year to join Saudi Pro League team Al Hilal this summer. This price was significantly higher than that paid to Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al Ittihad on Tuesday.
However, Messi will be playing in Miami and Major League Soccer going forward after making the stunning news in a joint interview with Mundo Deportivo and SPORT that he will be moving to Florida to continue his career.
“I made the decision that I am going 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 path.”
“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. Finishing my career on this side and living the United States league in a different way, enjoying 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.”
Messi’s interview in Spain was swiftly followed by a parody film from Inter Miami, mocking recent stories that have been critical of Major League Soccer and have linked him to Barcelona or the Saudi Pro League.
According to a number of news reports, MLS and Inter Miami saw an opportunity to steal Lionel Messi from Barcelona earlier on Wednesday. This was partly because of the financial package, which included payments from the league’s two biggest corporate sponsors, Apple and adidas.
Messi, who spent 17 years in the Barcelona first team before moving to Paris Saint-Germain, where he won Ligue 1 in back-to-back seasons, will be making his first-ever senior appearance outside of Europe.