Messi reveals decision to join Beckham's Inter Miami
Lionel Messi has announced he is joining Inter Miami — ending months of speculation about his future.
The World Cup winner, 35, played his last game for Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month and looked set to return to Barcelona or secure a money-spinning switch to Saudi side Al-Hilal.
But he has opted to trade Ligue 1 for Major League Soccer after sealing a deal with Miami, who are co-owned by Manchester United legend David Beckham.
In an interview with Spanish publications Mundo Deportivo and Sport, the Argentina superstar said: "I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami.
"I still haven't closed it 100%. I'm missing some things but we decided to continue on the path.
"If the Barcelona thing didn't work out, I wanted to leave Europe, get out of the spotlight and think more of my family.
"I was very excited to be able to return [to Barcelona]. But after the exit I had, I did not want to be in the same situation again — waiting to see what was going to happen.
"I heard they had to sell players or lower salaries and the truth is I didn't want to go through that."
Messi's decision will raise eyebrows across the world.
Miami recently sacked boss Phil Neville — a former team-mate of Beckham's — and sit bottom of the 15-team Eastern Conference.
But Messi is relishing the challenge. He added: "I also wanted to look for something else and a bit of peace of mind.
"I had offers from other European teams but I didn't even evaluate them because my idea was to go to Barcelona.
"[I am] going to live in the United States and enjoy day-to-day [life] much more but with the same responsibility of wanting to win and always doing things well."
Messi scored 672 goals in 778 appearances during a legendary stint at the Camp Nou.
His impact lessened after joining PSG in 2021 but 32 goals in 75 appearances still represents a fine return.
And inspiring Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last winter was the cherry on the cake.