FC Barcelona react after Lionel Messi ignores lucrative Camp Nou return proposal by confirming Inter Miami MLS deal

Jun 08, 2023 01:16 PM IST

Messi clarified his reasons for choosing the MLS team over a return to FC Barcelona, a club where he spent close to twenty years of his professional career.

Lionel Messi's two-year stint with Paris Saint-Germain came to an end with the confirmation of a sensational move for the Argentinian to American side Inter Miami last night. Messi spoke to Barcelona-based newspapers to confirm his intentions to move to Inter Miami, a franchise co-owned by English legend David Beckham, and clarified his reasons for choosing the MLS team over a return to FC Barcelona, a club where he spent close to twenty years of his professional career and made a name for himself as arguably the greatest footballer of all time.

Lionel Messi will not be returning to FC Barcelona(Getty)
Lionel Messi will not be returning to FC Barcelona(Getty)

Messi originally left Barcelona in the summer of 2021 in a blockbuster move away from what had become his hometown club, with his name synonymous with Barca. However, Messi cited that experience as a reason he didn't push harder to rejoin the club, admitting that he did not wish to go through the process of the club clearing up salaries and being forced to make player sales just to afford his salary. In his interview with Mundo Deportivo, Messi claimed that white proposals were shared between his representatives and Barcelona, there were no concrete formal offers made.

Also Read: Biggest signing in MLS history and part-time ownership? Messi's Inter Miami contract can shatter Beckham, Rooney records

Asked about the reasons a deal couldn't be completed, Messi said, "It is their issue. Many things were missing. The club, today, was not in a position to confirm 100 percent that I could return." Messi, however, also mentioned that it was not a question of money which made him choose Miami over Barcelona, mentioning that he had turned down a huge offer from Saudi Arabia to play for Al Hilal, which would have seen him net over a billion euros across his contract.

"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," Messi told Deportivo. Barcelona are currently being managed by former midfielder Xavi, who was part of many of the same legendary Camp Nou teams as the talismanic Argentinian.

In response, FC Barcelona published their own statement regarding Messi, clarifying their position in the negotiations regarding Messi's new club, while also promising an icon of the Camp Nou the send-off he deserved and wasn’t able to receive due to Covid-19 in 2021. The statement reads: "On Monday, June 5, Jorge Messi, the player's father and representative, informed Club President Joan Laporta of the player's decision to join Inter Miami, despite having been presented with a proposal from Barça, in consideration of the desire of both FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi for him to once again wear Blaugrana (the famous red and blue shirt of Barcelona."

The statement continues: "President 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. Both Joan Laporta and Jorge Messi also agreed to work together to promote a proper tribute from Barça fans to honor a footballer who has been, is, and always will be beloved by Barça."

Messi was not provided a farewell when he first left Barca in dramatic circumstances in 2021, and the statement promises to provide a fix to that, even two years into the future. The status of Messi as Barcelona's most significant player, perhaps of all time, is given its due credence through the promise of a farewell from a club he represented with such distinction for close to two decades.

The MLS summer window will be opened on July 5, which is when Messi is expected to join Inter Miami's ranks, before playing his first game in front of the home crowds on July 21 against Mexican outfit Cruz Azul. FC Barcelona are coming off a league-winning season, and have entered the summer break. They played a post-season friendly in Japan against Vissel Kobe, and will begin their preseason preparations soon.


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