Lionel Messi's bombshell interview: Argentine superstar on snubbing Barcelona, why he's leaving PSG, Inter Miami decision & more

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Lionel Messi PSG 2023
Lionel Messi revealed all on his decision to join Inter Miami and reject his boyhood club Barcelona

In a seismic decision for the football world, Lionel Messi elected this week to sign for MLS' Inter Miami, rejecting an offer from former club Barcelona before it could arrive, as well as a mega-money proposal from Saudi side Al-Hilal. The Blaugrana are still limited by the financial barriers that prevented them from re-signing Messi two years ago, and couldn't guarantee the player that an official offer could arrive any time soon.

And Messi made it clear he wasn't willing to wait, verbally agreeing on a deal to join Inter Miami instead.

He outlined his decision in a lengthy interview with Spanish outlets SPORT and Mundo Deportivo, speaking extensively on his relationship with Barcelona, unhappiness at Paris Saint-Germain, and reasons for choosing Inter Miami over a more lucrative offer from the Saudi Pro League.

GOAL has highlighted the best bits of his conversation...

  1. How do you feel about leaving Paris?

    How do you feel about leaving Paris?

    With mixed feelings. The truth is that the first year was very difficult, as I have already said on occasion, 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. In the middle was the World Cup and I think the World Cup marked all the teams a bit in general, it marked the season a bit, with such an important competition in the middle for the first time. I think it conditioned the season a lot. I expected it to end differently, but hey, it was two years, which, in general, were difficult for me, but they are behind me.

  2. Have you missed Barcelona?

    Have you missed Barcelona?

    Yes, obviously I did, I missed them. And even more so at the beginning, when the first year here was so difficult for me. After my departure, after how everything went, obviously, I followed them, I watched the games and I always, always held on to the memories and to be able to be there.

  3. Have you already made a decision on returning to Barca?

    Have you already made a decision on returning to Barca?

    I really wanted and was very excited about being able to return, but on the other hand, after experiencing what I experienced and the way I left, I didn't want to be in the same situation again: waiting to see what would happen and leaving my future in someone else's hands.

    I wanted to make my own decision, thinking about myself, about my family. Although I heard that it was being said that La Liga had accepted everything and that everything was fine for me to come back, there were still many other things that needed to happen. I heard that they had to sell players or reduce players' salaries, and the truth is that I didn't want to go through that or take responsibility for something related to all of 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 of that.

    The last time I had to leave, La Liga had also accepted my registration, but in the end, it couldn't be done. Well, I was afraid that the same thing would happen again, and I would have to rush around like before when I had to come here to Paris and 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 my return to Barça didn't happen. Although I would have loved to, it couldn't be done.

  4. What did your family say about returning to Barca?

    What did your family say about returning to Barca?

    My family was very excited about everything they heard, but at the same time we weren't too excited because the reality was that we still didn't know what could happen. But obviously, they were eager to return. We never wanted to leave there, it was very difficult, but they also support me and it is a decision made as a family, not just mine. They are also happy about the new change, although also sad to leave. It was difficult at first but now they are more than adapted here in Paris. They have their friends at school and it also hurts to be separated from all that. They are already big. Above all, Thiago understands the situation and is happy about what will come.

  5. What has it been like hearing your name sung at Camp Nou?

    What has it been like hearing your name sung at Camp Nou?

    For me it was beautiful and I enjoyed it, because the truth is that since I left, I left in a strange way, I would have liked to say goodbye as was done now with Busi, Jordi, or as happened to Xavi and Iniesta at the time.

    I would have liked to leave that way, to have been able to say goodbye to the people well, even though it was the time of the pandemic and there couldn't be people in the stadium. I would have liked to know that I was playing with people, to know that I was enjoying it. That is why I was very happy when I heard my name at the Camp Nou or in Barcelona. Beyond the fact that love is always there and is mutual, it was a strange feeling to hear him at the Camp Nou and not be there.

  6. Could Barca have done more?

    Could Barca have done more?

    Well, I don't know. It is their issue. Honestly, I don't know if they have done everything possible or not. I knew what they were talking about with Xavi, above all...

    Now they had, by what is said, obtained the permission of the league to be able to do it. But I'm telling you, it wasn't just that. Many things were missing. The club, today, was not in a position to confirm 100% that I could return. And it is understandable, due to the situation that the club is going through, and that is how I saw it.

  7. Are there people are Barca who don't want you back?

    Are there people are Barca who don't want you back?

    I don't know. But surely there are people who don't want me to come back, just as at the time they didn't want me to stay when I had to leave. Many people I know want me to come back and they expressed it and made it public. But surely there are people on the board who do not want me to return, who believe that my return is not good for the club.

  8. Where next? To Saudi Arabia? To Miami? To another place?

    Where next? To Saudi Arabia? To Miami? To another place?

    I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami. I still haven't closed it one hundred percent. I'm missing some things but we decided to continue the path.

    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. After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barca, it was time to go to the American league, to experience football in a different way and enjoy the day-to-day. 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.