Spanish La Liga champions Barcelona have reacted to Lionel Messi’s decision to join Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami.
Much speculation over Messi’s next move has been reported, with the 2022 World Cup winner being linked also with a deal worth £2billion to join Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal.
His father, Jorge, who is also his agent, had previously met with Barcelona president Joan Laporta to discuss a potential move back to the Catalan giants.
Following the talks, he said: “Leo wants to return to Barcelona and I’d love to see him back to Barca which is an option for sure.”
But on Wednesday Messi announced, in an interview with Mundo Deportivo, that he would be moving to Inter Miami, with his contract at Paris Saint-Germain set to expire at the end of June.
And following his announcement, Barcelona issued a statement wishing him well while also suggesting he was going to a league ‘with fewer demands and less pressure’.
“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.
“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.”
During his time at Barcelona, Messi won LaLiga, Copa Del Rey, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
Also, during his time at Barcelona he was crowned FIFA Best Player and Ballon D’Or awards.