- Messi to Inter Miami confirmed
- He 'wanted' to join Barcelona
- Turned down Barca and Al Hilal
WHAT HAPPENED? Messi has sealed a move to MLS club Inter Miami as he prepares to leave Paris Saint-Germain. Many expected the Argentina captain to head back to his boyhood Barca this summer, but after leaving Camp Nou in 2021 due to La Liga imposing financial restrictions on the club that meant they couldn't afford to keep him, Messi said he couldn't put himself nor Barcelona through that situation again.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to Mundo Deportivo, Messi said: "I wanted to return, I was very excited to be able to return, but 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 leaving my future in the hands of another.
"I wanted to make my own decision, thinking about myself, about my family. Although I heard that it was said that LaLiga had accepted everything and that everything was fine for him to return, there were still many other things that had to be done. I heard that they had to sell players or lower player salaries and the truth is that I didn't want to go through that, or take charge of obtaining something that had to do with all that. I have already been accused of many things that were not true in my career at Barcelona and I was already a bit tired, I didn't want to go through all that.
"Although I would have loved it, it couldn't. I am also in a moment where I want to get out of focus a bit, think more about my family. As I was just saying, I spent two years at a family level that was so bad that I didn't enjoy it. I had the month that was spectacular for me for having won the World Cup, but removing that was a difficult stage for me."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barcelona tried to re-sign Messi but are again working with their hands tied this summer, needing to reduce their wage bill - a situation which made the move ultimately too difficult.
Messi's move to Miami is seismic for soccer in the USA and for the MLS club itself, with Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal also missing out on Messi's signature despite a lucrative offer. As he added: “If it had been a matter of money, I’d have gone to Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money to me. The truth is that my final decision goes elsewhere and not because of money."
IN THREE PHOTOS:@FabrizioRomanoGettyGetty
WHAT NEXT? Messi's move to Inter Miam has already been announced. He could potentially make his debut in the new Leagues Cup competition in July. Inter Miami are due to play Mexican club Cruz Azul on July 21.