Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi has confirmed that he will not be heading back to Barcelona but will rather move to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami CF.
The Argentine international’s future has been the subject of intense speculation in the last few months as he was approaching the end of his contract at Parc des Princes.
His former side Barcelona were one of the clubs keen on signing him, with the Spanish club speaking to La Liga to work out a special arrangement that would bring the attacker back to Camp Nou.
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Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal also wanted to sign Messi and offered him a ginormous £ 2 billion deal that would have made him the highest-paid athlete in the world.
But the 35-year-old has decided to join Inter Miami in a deal that reportedly includes an option for the Argentine to become a part-owner of the MLS side.
In an interview with Mundo Deportivo, he said: “I’m not going back to Barça; I’m going to Inter Miami.
“I really wanted [to return to Barcelona], 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 hand from 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 [Barcelona] had to sell players or lower players’ salaries, and the truth is that I didn’t want to go through that, nor 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. And well, by the time I had to leave, La Liga had also accepted that they signed me up, and in the end, it couldn’t be done.
“Well, I was afraid that the same thing would happen again and I had to go through the bullfight as it happened, that 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 wanted to make my own decision, and that’s why it was a bit that I didn’t turn to Barça. Although I would have loved it, I 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.”