Lionel Messi will join Inter Miami after leaving PSG.
Argentina legend Lionel Messi has left French winners Paris St-Germain to join American club Inter Miami.
Messi, 35, got a more lucrative offer from Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, but a return to Barcelona became impossible due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions.
“I’ve decided to go to Miami,” Messi told the tabloids Diario Sport and Mundo Deportivo.
“[I’ve decided] to leave Europe.”
“It’s true that I had offers from other European teams, but I didn’t even consider them because my only goal in Europe was to go to Barcelona,” he added.
“After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barcelona, it’s time to go to MLS to experience football in a new way and enjoy my daily life more.”
“Obviously, with the same sense of responsibility and desire to win and do things right, but with greater calm.”
The ex-Barcelona forward wanted to return to the Catalan club this summer, but the FFP restrictions that will be in effect in La Liga next season made any ambitious plan to bring him back impossible.
The Spanish club were unable to retain Messi in 2021, prompting an emotional press conference as he left the Nou Camp and joined with PSG.
“I was afraid that it would happen again,” he explained.
“I really wanted and was very excited to be able to return [to Barcelona], but after what I experienced and the exit I had, I didn’t want to be in the same situation again – waiting to see what would happen.”
“I heard they had to sell players or lower players’ salaries, and the truth is that I didn’t want to go through that, nor take charge of obtaining something that had anything to do with all of that.”
Barcelona later issued a statement indicating Messi had rejected an offer from the Catalan club in favor of a move to Miami.
“President [Joan] Laporta understood and respected Messi’s decision to compete in a league with fewer demands, further away from the spotlight and pressure he has been subjected to in recent years,” the statement continued.
Messi’s first trip outside of Europe
Adidas and Apple are among the brands involved in the Miami arrangement.
Messi has won the Ballon d’Or seven times and is anticipated to win it again this year after winning the World Cup.
This is the first time Messi has played outside of Europe.
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With a return to Barcelona unlikely, he was forced to choose between Inter Miami and Al-Hilal.
He was highly rumored to want a move to Saudi Arabia, where he would have joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in the league in an unbeatable financial contract.
However, Messi was eventually enticed to join Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami for a multitude of reasons, including lifestyle and a relationship with huge brands that extends beyond football.
He already owns and rents out a home in Miami.
Paris St-Germain won Ligue 1 in both of his seasons at the club but were eliminated in the Champions League in the final 16, therefore his tenure in France was not regarded as a major success.
He scored 32 goals in 75 games for the club this season, finishing with 16 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1.
Messi’s two-year contract expires this summer, and the two parties agreed to part ways, with the forward suspended for two weeks in May for an unapproved travel to Saudi Arabia.
His legacy stems from his tenure at Barcelona and Argentina’s World Cup victory in December.
He departed Barcelona in 2021, after 21 years with the club, due to financial difficulties.
Messi has 672 goals for Barcelona and has won 10 La Liga crowns, four Champions Leagues, and seven Spanish Cups.
‘If it had been about money, I would have gone to Saudi.’
Messi revealed he had discussed his return to Barcelona with close friend Xavi, but “very little, once or twice at most” with president Joan Laporta.
“We were very excited, because whenever something came out, we would discuss if he really wanted me to come back, if it was good for the team and for him, and we kept in communication,” Messi explained.
“We never even got to discuss the contract.” A proposal was rejected, but it was never a formal, written, signed proposal, because there was still nothing and we didn’t know if it was really conceivable.
“We had the intention, but we couldn’t move forward; we didn’t even talk about money formally.”
“If it had been a matter of money, I would have gone to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere.”