Following initial rumblings that football legend Lionel Messi had agreed to join Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit Inter Miami over Al-Hilal, reports emerged that in a last-ditch effort, the Saudi Arabian football powerhouse tried to snatch Messi with an eye-watering offer of €1.5 billion over three years.
The Argentinian in an interview today (June 7) with Mundo Deportivo and Sport newspaper, however, confirmed his choice to play in Miami instead of Saudi Arabia.
“I made the decision that I’m going to go to Miami,” said Messi.
“I still haven’t closed it 100%. I’m still missing a few things, but we decided to go ahead; If Barcelona didn’t work out, I wanted to leave Europe, get out of the spotlight and think more about my family,” he continued.
His move to South Florida will mark the first time the 35-year-old Argentine will play outside Europe since he joined Barça’s academy at the age of 13.
He added: “After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barça, it was time to go to the U.S. league to experience football in a different way and enjoy the day-to-day, obviously with the same responsibility and desire to want to win and to always do things well. But with more peace of mind.”
Messi, who led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last December and has earned a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, won the Ligue 1 title in his two seasons with PSG as well as the French Super Cup in 2022.