·7 June 2023
·7 June 2023
Barcelona have issued a statement in response to Camp Nou legend Lionel Messi opting not to return to the club this summer, instead choosing to join MLS side Inter Miami instead.
Messi publicly communicated his decision to Miami in an interview with two Barcelona-based newspapers on Wednesday night.
In the process of taking his career to a brand new continent, he turned down the advances of his former team. Messi himself admitted that he was really keen to head back to Barcelona, but wasn’t prepared for a repeat of the uncertainty that surrounded his 2021 exit.
In its statement, the club also appears to have offered a slightly different version of events of what happened. Messi himself suggested that negotiations never got as far as being presented with a formal contract offer by Barcelona, which was part of the reason he looked elsewhere.
Barcelona implied his reasons for turning down a return were different.
“On 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,” the Barcelona statement read.
“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.”
The latter part seems to refer to Messi’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain two years ago coming at a time when he couldn’t have a proper send-off, both due to the expectation that he would stay and fans not being able to attend games due to Covid-19 restrictions.