Lionel Messi: ‘I’ve made the decision’ – World Cup winning Argentina star confirms stunning Inter Miami move

Lionel Messi has revealed that he has “made the decision” to join MLS side Inter Miami.

The club, which is co-owned by David Beckham, are bottom of the Eastern Conference with 15 points from 16 matches.

Messi was a free agent after leaving Paris Saint-Germain and reportedly wanted to stay in Europe for another season.
However, a return to Barcelona seemingly didn’t materialise due to Financial Fair Play constraints, which left Inter Miami or joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in Saudi Arabia.
Messi told Mundo Deportivo and Sport in a joint interview that while the deal to Miami isn’t done just yet, it’s a move that he wishes to make.

“I’ve made the decision that I am going to go to Miami,” he said.

“I made the decision that I’m going to go to Miami. I still haven’t closed it one hundred per cent. I’m missing some things but we decided to continue on the path,” he added.

Inter Miami then posted a tweet which suggested a move was very close to being officially completed.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner revealed that he had “really wanted to” return to Barcelona but had to consider what was best for him and his family.

He said: “I really wanted, I was very excited to be able to return [to Barcelona], but after having experienced what I experienced and the exit I had, I did not want to be in the same situation again.

“I heard that they 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.

“La Liga had given the okay, but it is not true that the decision was mine over a return, because many things were missing. It is a long summer in which I do not want to go through what I already went through again.

“We never even got to a stage of talking about a contract. A proposal was passed over, but never a formal, written, signed proposal, because there was still nothing and we did not know if it was going to be possible or not.

“There was the intention, but we couldn’t advance anything, we didn’t even talk about money formally. If it had been a matter of money I would have gone to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money to me and the truth is that my decision was for the other side and not for money.”

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In a statement, Barcelona confirmed the club had presented Messi with a proposal.

“President [Joan] Laporta understood and respected Messi’s decision to want to compete in a league with fewer demands, further away from the spotlight and the pressure he has been subject to in recent years,” it read.

“Both Joan Laporta and Jorge Messi [Lionel’s father] also agreed to work together to promote a proper tribute from Barca fans to honour a footballer who has been, is, and always will be beloved by Barca.”

Messi revealed he had offers from other teams in Europe but “didn’t even evaluate them because my idea was to go to Barcelona”.

He added: “If that didn’t come about, then leaving European football after winning the World Cup was what I needed.

“Now I will close my career in this country and experiencing the MLS in a different way, enjoying the day-to-day much more – but with the same responsibility of wanting to win and always doing things well but with more peace of mind.”

Messi could soon be joined by former Barcelona team-mates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba at Miami, both of whom have recently left the Catalan giants and are reported targets for the MLS side, while Luis Suarez could also be in line for a move.

However, Messi refuted the suggestion that playing with close friends had anything to do with his own decision.

He said: “I made my decision for myself and I don’t know what they are going to do.”

Inter Miami have recently sacked former Manchester United defender Phil Neville as manager with former Argentina boss Tata Martino strongly linked as his replacement.

Messi scored 32 goals in 75 games during his two seasons with PSG, finishing this campaign with 16 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1. He is Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer with 672 goals.

It will be the first time Messi has played professionally for a club outside of Europe. Looking ahead to his debut, Messi could feature in the July 21 Leagues Cup game.

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