Messi will not return to FC Barcelona. Nor will he join the Saudi Arabian soccer league. Ultimately, Leo Messi has opted to play in the MLS for Inter Miami. It was Messi himself who revealed his future in an exclusive interview with Spanish sports newspapers Sport and Mundo Deportivo:
I made the decision that I am going to Miami. I still don't have it 100% closed, and some details are missing, but well, we decided to continue our journey there. If Barcelona didn't work out, I wanted to leave Europe, get out of the spotlight and think more about my family.
"TOMÉ LA DECISIÓN DE QUE VOY A IR A MIAMI 🇺🇸"
Bombazo mundial de Lionel Messi. pic.twitter.com/pqRXwhtF06
— Pablo Giralt (@giraltpablo) June 7, 2023
Since Jan. 1, when he became contractually permitted to negotiate with other teams, there has been speculation about his return to his former club, FC Barcelona, after his father and representative Jorge Messi traveled to the Spanish city last weekend. In the end, however, the wishes of Barcelona fans will not be granted. "I was very eager, very excited to be able to return, but after having lived through what I went through and the exit I had, I didn't want to be in the same situation again: waiting to see what would happen and leave my future in someone else's hands," he said.
Another reason why he refused to return to FC Barcelona was because of the team's poor financial situation:
I heard that they had to sell players or lower the salaries of players, and the truth is that I didn't want to go through that, or be in charge of having anything to do with all that. Well, I don't know. It is a matter of the team. To tell you the truth, I honestly don't know if they have done everything possible or not. I knew what I was talking about with [Messi's former teammate and current FC Barcelona manager] Xavi, especially... Now, by all accounts, they had secured permission from La Liga to do so. But I tell you, it wasn't just that. Many things were missing. The club, at this time, was not in a position to give me 100% certainty that I could return. And it is understandable, because of the situation the club is going through, and that was my experience.
A month ago, British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Messi had received a colossal offer from Saudi Arabia for around $400 million per year to sign for one of the top teams in their league. Regarding that offer, Messi said:
The truth is that economics has never been a problem for me or an obstacle in anything. We never even got to talk about the contract. A proposal was passed over, but never a formal, written, signed proposal, because there was nothing yet and we did not know if it was going to be possible or not. There was the effort, but we could not advance anything, and we did not even talk about money formally. If it had been a question of money, I would have gone to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money, and the truth is that my decision was not about money.