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Lionel Messi confirms he is joining Inter Miami this summer

Lionel Messi confirms he is joining Inter Miami this summer
© Reuters
Lionel Messi reveals that he is joining MLS outfit Inter Miami on a free transfer this summer, with Barcelona's hopes of re-signing the forward now officially over.

Lionel Messi has revealed that he is joining MLS outfit Inter Miami on a free transfer this summer.

The Argentina international's future has been the subject of much speculation in recent months, with Barcelona, at one stage, believed to be the favourites to re-sign him.

There has also allegedly been huge Saudi Arabian interest in the World Cup winner, who will officially see his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expire at the end of June.

Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that Messi had agreed to make the move to North America to link up with Inter Miami, and the 35-year-old has now confirmed the switch.

"I will not return to Barcelona, I will join Inter Miami," he said in an interview with Mundo Deportivo and Sport, in quotes carried by Barcelona Universal.

Paris Saint-Germain attacker Lionel Messi warms up on May 27, 2023© Reuters

"I made the decision to go to Miami. I still haven't closed it 100% and there are some things missing, but well, we decided to continue the journey there.

"[Sergio] Busquets and [Jordi] Alba will join Inter Miami with me? That's another of the things they said, that we had it all sorted out. Everyone is looking out for their own future. I was obviously keeping an eye on them, but we never agreed to go anywhere together.

"The truth is that I had offers from another European team, but I didn't even evaluate it because in Europe my idea was only to go to Barcelona.

"Obviously with the same responsibility and the same desire to want to win and to always do things well. But with more peace of mind.

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their second goal on March 23, 2023© Reuters

"After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barca, I had to go to the American league to experience football in a different way and enjoy the day to day.

"I feel good, calm, having finished the season. It was an atypical year because we played the World Cup in the middle. It made everything different. Now I'm thinking about the games with the national team and the holidays.

"The truth is that the first year at PSG was very difficult, as I said on some occasions, for different reasons. The second year, the first six months I felt very, very good, very comfortable in the club, in the city, with my family.

"I think it conditioned the season a lot. I had hoped to finish in a different way, but well, it was a difficult two years for me in general.

Lionel Messi wins The Best FIFA Men's Player 2022 award on February 27, 2023© Reuters

"In the middle of the season there was the World Cup and I think the World Cup affected all the teams in general, it affected the season a little bit, with such an important competition in the middle for the first time.

"Did I miss Barca when I was at PSG? Yes, obviously I did. I was just saying, the truth is that the first year here was very difficult for me, after the departure, how it was and everything.

"When I was at PSG, obviously I followed Barca, I watched the games and I always missed the memories and being able to be there.

"I really wanted to return to Barca but after having lived through what I went through and the departure I had, I didn't want to be in the same situation again... Waiting to see what was going to happen and leaving my future in someone else's hands.

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after Julian Alvarez scores their third goal on December 13, 2022© Reuters

"I wanted to make my own decision, thinking about myself, my family. Although I heard that La Liga had accepted everything and that everything was fine for me to return, there were still a lot of other things that needed to happen.

"I heard that Barca 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 getting anything to do with all that.

"I was already blamed for a lot of things that weren't true in my career at Barcelona and I was a bit tired of it, I didn't want to go through all that... What were they going to say about me if they had to sell players or things like that for my signing.

Lionel Messi in action for Paris Saint-Germain on November 2, 2022© Reuters

"The time I had to leave, in 2021, La Liga had also agreed to register me and in the end it was not possible. Well, I was afraid that the same thing would happen again.

"When I left in 2021, I had to come here to Paris to stay in a hotel for a long time with my family, with my children going to school and still being in the hotel... I didn't want my future in the air again.

"I had that month which was spectacular for me because I won the World Cup, but apart from that it was a difficult period for me. I want to get back to enjoying myself, enjoying my family, my children, the day to day..."

Messi left Barcelona on a free transfer in 2021 due to the club's financial problems, moving to PSG, and he represented the French giants on 75 occasions, scoring 32 goals and registering 35 assists in the process.

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Paris Saint-Germain attacker Lionel Messi warms up on May 27, 2023
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