Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23Getty Images

'We had it rough!' - Lionel Messi makes it obvious he hated life at PSG as Inter Miami superstar reflects on being forced out of Barcelona

  • No funds for new contract at Camp Nou
  • Spent two testing years in France
  • Enjoying his football again in the States

WHAT HAPPENED? It became apparent in the summer of 2021, following career-long ties with La Liga giants Barcelona, that the funds were not available at Camp Nou for a new contract to be put in place. Messi bid an emotional farewell to Catalunya as a result, with the decision taken to join the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at PSG. Things did not play out as planned for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner in France, as he was booed by the club’s own supporters at one stage, and Messi concedes that a stint in Paris was never part of his grand career plan.

WHAT THEY SAID: Messi, who has rediscovered his best form and enjoyment of club football since linking up with MLS side Inter Miami in 2023, has said of his past and present: “As I said at the time, my departure to Paris was not something I wanted, it was not something I wanted to leave Barcelona and, so to speak, it was from one day to the next. And, well, I also had to get used to a place that was totally different from where I had been living all my life, both in terms of the city and in a sporting sense, and, well, it was difficult, but the opposite of what is happening to me now here [in Miami].”

AND WHAT'S MORE: In a separate interview with ESPN, Messi admitted that he and his family found it "rough" during his time at PSG, adding: "This is what I was looking for when we made the decision with my family. To enjoy it once more, as I've done my whole career, after two difficult years, the truth is we had it rough. But as luck would have it, we're in a place where we're happy not just because of the results on the pitch but because of the everyday life with my wife, my kids, our lifestyle and the way we spend our time. Truth is, we're enjoying this moment very much."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi registered 32 goals for PSG through 75 appearances, but failed to deliver an elusive Champions League crown as he had to settle for a couple of Ligue 1 titles in France. He has already netted nine goals through six games for Inter Miami and has them closing in on a Leagues Cup triumph within weeks of his arrival. He added on potentially delivering a first trophy for the MLS outfit in just their third season of existence: “It would be amazing, wouldn't it? Both for me and for all the people who are fans of the club, for the club itself. We want to be a point of reference and winning a title would help a lot in that. It is a very young club, it has been around for a very short time, and to win our first title would be great for all of us.”


Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23

Lionel Messi Inter Miami Leagues Cup 2023Getty

WHAT NEXT? Messi signed an initial two-and-half-year contract with Inter Miami when making his way to the United States, but that deal includes an extension option for 2026 – with there still a chance that he could grace the World Cup finals in America, Canada and Mexico that year despite stating that he has no plans at present to take part in that tournament.