Lionel Messi revealed in an interview with Time Magazine that he considered joining the Saudi Arabian championship last summer after departing from Paris Saint-Germain this past summer.
The Argentine had options after his contract with the French giants expired. Messi could’ve returned to FC Barcelona or ventured outside of Europe, with Saudi Arabia and the MLS being the prime destinations.
Saudi Arabia piqued the interest of Lionel Messi
While many hoped that Messi would return to Barcelona, it feels like it was never a reality. The 2022 FIFA World Cup winner notes that his decision came down to playing in Saudi Arabia and MLS; eventually, he would choose Inter Miami.
“My first option was to return to Barcelona, but it was not possible,” Messi said. “I tried to return, and it did not happen. It is also true that later I was thinking a lot about going to the Saudi League, where I know the country, and they have created a very powerful competition that can become an important league in the near future.
“As the country’s tourism ambassador, it was a destination that attracted me, especially because I’ve enjoyed everything I have visited, because of how football is growing in the country and because of the effort they are putting into creating a top competition. It was Saudi Arabia or MLS, and both options seemed very interesting to me.”
The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner chose to earn significantly less, opting for the South Florida club instead of accepting the contract worth several hundred million euros that awaited him in the Middle East.
Already surrounded by Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, he could quickly welcome another former Barça: Luis Suarez. Several media outlets are announcing the imminent arrival of the Uruguayan striker at Inter Miami.