Messi speaks out on Miami move

In an exclusive interview with Mundo Deportivo and Sport, Lionel Messi revealed some of the reasons behind his shocking move to Inter Miami. Speaking about a widely rumoured potential return to Barcelona, the Argentine said that ‘in reality, I spoke very little with Laporta [since leaving], one or two times at most.’

He went on to add that he maintained regular contact with Xavi, stating that ‘we talked about the possibility of me returning.’ Talks were brief though, and when asked by journalists whether finances played any part in his decision to head to the United States, Messi said that ‘the money was never a problem for me, or an obstacle in anything.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was also linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, where he could have played for a number of clubs including Al-Hilal or Al-Ittihad. Messi remained insistent that money was not a decisive factor, stating that ‘if it had been a question of money, I’d have gone to Saudi Arabia or somewhere else… the truth is my decision was for other reasons, and not for money.’

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Messi was clear that his heart remains in Barcelona though, adding that ‘I followed [Barça] all year round and I wanted Barça to win, just like every Barcelona fan.’ When asked if he wanted to return to Catalunya, the Argentine responded that ‘I had a lot of desire, a lot of enthusiasm to be able to return,’ but spoke about the club’s financial difficulties making it impractical.

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 given. I heard that they had to sell players or lower the salary of players and the truth is that I didn’t want to go through that, or take care of getting something that had to do with all that. I was already accused of many things that were not true in my career in Barcelona and I was already a little tired, I didn’t want to go through all that.

Lionel Messi, speaking to Mundo Deportivo and Sport

Ultimately though, Messi said that he had to prioritise his family, adding that ‘I’m also at a time where I want to get a little out of the spotlight, think more about my family… I want to find enjoyment again, with my family, my children.’

When questioned as to whether he’d like to return to Catalunya in the future in a non-playing role, Messi’s answer was simple. ‘Yes, obviously I would like to be close to the club. What’s more, I’m going to live in Barcelona… Hopefully, I don’t know when or what or when but hopefully one day I can contribute something to the club and help because it’s a club that I love as I always said.’

To round off the interview, Messi revealed that ‘I made the decision that I’m going to Miami. I haven’t closed it one hundred percent yet. I’m missing some things, but we decided to continue on that route.’ He added that ‘I had offers from other European teams, but I didn’t even evaluate them because my idea was to go to Barcelona – and if [the offer] didn’t come out of Barcelona, then [I’d] leave European football.’