Messi chooses happiness over money as he heads to the US

Argentine Super football superstar Lionel Messi is about to sign for Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, the United States, in a clear case of choosing happiness over a big mega deal in  Saudi Arabia or a reunion with his boyhood club, Barcelona in Spain.

“I’ve taken the decision that I am going to Miami; I don’t have the deal 100 per cent sealed, or maybe there’s something left to do, but we decided to continue our path there,” Messi told Spanish newspapers Diario Sport and Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday.

“After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barca, it’s time to go to MLS to live football in a different way and enjoy my day-to-day life more.

“If it had been a question of money, I would have gone to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere,” said Messi.

“It seemed like a lot of money and the truth is that my decision went another way and not for money,” he said.

The World Cup hero, who has spent the last two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, was speculated since last week to be heading back to Spain or Saudi Arabia, following the expiration of a two-year contract with PGG.

Messi said he would have loved to return to Barcelona but was afraid that the financial complications which stopped the Catalan club from extending his deal in 2021 would interfere again.

“I really wanted to come back, I was really looking forward to it.

“But, on the other hand, after having lived through what I lived through, after the exit I had… I didn’t want to go through the same situation again and have to wait to see what was going to happen.

“I didn’t want to leave my future in the hands of others. Somehow, I wanted to make my own decision for myself, for my family,” Messi said.

Inter Miami, founded in 2018 and co-owned by former England international David Beckham presently sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference of the MLS. Its coach Phil Neville was sacked last week.

MLS and Inter Miami confirmed the news on social media, although the American league noted that “work remains to finalise a formal agreement”.

There are some reports that key MLS sponsors including Adidas and Apple TV, who own the league’s domestic broadcasting rights, may be contributing to his deal.

Analysts believe that Messi’s arrival at the MLS will assist tremendously growing football (soccer) in the United States and a moral boost for the 2026 World Cup being co-hosted in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Messi, who turns 36 next month and a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, now looks set to end his club career outside Europe, even though he has said he plans to live in Barcelona again in the future and be involved with his former side in some way.

“I don’t know at what moment and when, but hopefully I can return one day to contribute something to the club,” he said.

Messi joined Barcelona’s academy at 13 years old and rose to become the club’s greatest icon, scoring a record 672 goals in 778 games, winning 35 trophies, including four Champions League triumphs and 10 La Liga titles.

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