That sound you can hear is fans sobbing after thinking they would see Lionel Messi end his playing days in Major League Soccer for Inter Miami CF…
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Messi, 32, has told RAC1 that his plan is to retire with Barcelona, as suggestions he would finish his playing career at hometown club Newell’s Old Boys or maybe to even join Pep Guardiola at Man City seem to be well and truly over.
The Argentine superstar has been with the Catalan club his entire career after coming through their La Masia academy, and has won four UEFA Champions League titles, 10 La Liga crowns and has been named the best player on the planet six times.
“Yes, my idea is to stay for many years. I’ve always thought this way and nothing has changed,” Messi said. “It’s clear that my idea is to finish my career at Barca. Especially because of what I feel for the club and for my family. We are very happy in Barcelona. From my childhood I have dreamed of playing for Newell’s because of what football means in Argentina, but sometimes one has to prioritize the family. I wouldn’t like to break up the friendships that my children have made here, as happened to me when I was little.”
Messi did confirm he wanted to leave Spain in 2013-14 after the Spanish authorities launched an investigation into his taxes, and added that he relaxed about his current contract situation.
“In 2013-14, I did want to leave Barca. There was a situation that went beyond what I felt for the club. I wanted to leave Spain because of the tax issue. I felt mistreated… I don’t think that there is anything new to report regarding my contract extension, but there will surely be no problem if it materializes. With the club, everything is always simple.”
Now, Messi has said he wants to finish his career at Barca before but usually there was a caveat of saying, ‘You never know what happens in football,’ or something like that.
This time the answer is definitive and after reports suggested he is now on a one-year rolling contract at Barcelona, where he gets to decide each summer if he stays at the Nou Camp. This commitment to Barca will be music to the ears of their hierarchy.