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Lionel Messi confirms he will sign for US team Inter Miami after leaving PSG

Staff at the Fiorito restaurant hold an Argentinian flag as they pose for a photograph taken by a colleague in front of a mural of Lionel Messi, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Mi
Staff at the Fiorito restaurant hold an Argentinian flag as they pose for a photograph taken by a colleague in front of a mural of Lionel Messi, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Mi Copyright AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
Copyright AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
By Mark Armstrong with AFP
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Lionel Messi on Wednesday announced he will sign for Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, choosing the US as his next destination over a Barcelona reunion or blockbuster deal to play in Saudi Arabia.

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The Argentine forward and World Cup winner, 35, has spent the last two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain where he played the club last Saturday, after moving from Barcelona in 2021, where he spent the majority of his career.

However, although his form at PSG had improved recently, Messi had a sometimes difficult relationship with the club and its fans. 

"They were two years in which I was not happy, I didn't enjoy myself, and that affected my family life, I missed a lot of my children's life at school," Messi explained. 

"In Barcelona, I went to pick them up from school, here I did it much less than in Barcelona, I shared fewer activities with them. 

"That's also the reason for my decision, to reconnect with my family, with my children, and to enjoy the day-to-day."

The Argentinian spent most of his glittering career at Barcelona and there had been mounting speculation that he would return to the club to bring it to a fitting end, but he said he did not want to wait for Barcelona to find a formula to sign him given their financial situation.

Major League Soccer in the US and the club Inter Miami confirmed the news on social media, although the American League noted: "work remains to finalise a formal agreement".

"I've taken the decision that I am going to Miami, I don't have (the deal) 100% sealed or maybe there's something left to do, but we decided to continue our path there," Messi told the Spanish newspapers Diario Sport and Mundo Deportivo.

He will earn a reported 47m euros a year. 

The football world was eagerly awaiting Messi's decision after PSG confirmed his departure. 

The romance of a Barcelona return and the prospect of eye-watering riches in Saudi Arabia fell by the wayside as Messi opted to join MLS, with sun-soaked Miami a city he has holidayed in on previous occasions.

Some residents of Rosario, Lionel Messi's hometown in Argentina, supported the star's decision to join Inter Miami, while others said they would have preferred him to have stayed in Europe.

"It's fine, Messi could play three more years in Europe," said resident Ricardo Gómez. "The truth is that I totally see him returning to Barca (FC Barcelona), or going to the Premier (UK), but hey, if he decided it was the best thing for him and his family, I support him."

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