- Return to Barcelona and switch to Saudi Pro League ruled out
- Messi to go on holiday after Argentina commitments
- World Cup winner set to return for pre-season in January
Inter Miami captain Lionel Messi, 36, is expected to stay with the team as the Major League Soccer (MLS) season concludes, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague. Speculations had linked Messi with a return to La Liga with Barcelona or a move to the Saudi Pro League.
Messi set for holiday before pre-season return
After a 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati, Inter Miami are out of play-off contention, and their season concludes on October 21. Due to injury, Messi has played only 72 minutes in the MLS since early September.
Following the conclusion of the MLS regular season, Messi, a World Cup winner with Argentina, is scheduled for World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Brazil on November 17 and 22. Subsequently, he is anticipated to take a month-long holiday.
“Messi will have around one month holiday, like other footballers. So forget any move to Saudi or similar,” stated Balague.
Messi joined Inter Miami from Paris St-Germain in July, leading the club to their first Leagues Cup victory in August, albeit losing in the US Open Cup. He has tallied 11 goals in 13 games for the team, with only one goal in his five MLS appearances.
The possibility of Messi’s return to Barcelona has been circulating since his departure for PSG in 2021 after a 21-year tenure at the club. However, reports suggest that Barcelona are prioritising the registration of 18-year-old Brazilian forward Vitor Roque in January, with no plans to sign Messi. Consequently, Messi is expected to return to pre-season training with Inter Miami in January.
When asked about the rumours after the loss to FC Cincinnati, Inter Miami manager Tata Martino stated, “That’s surprising. I know nothing about that. If you’re telling me that he’s going to go visit Barcelona on vacation, yes, it’s probable, but I don’t have any information on the other part.”
While Inter Miami have failed to make the play-offs this season, their form has been much better since the arrival of Messi and his ex Barcelona colleagues Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. Bettors may want to to think about backing them to do well next season.