In a shocking turn of events, Lionel Messi, one of the greatest soccer players of all time, has made a surprising decision to join Inter Miami, snubbing his former club FC Barcelona. Speculation was rife about his potential move to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal, which reportedly offered him an astronomical contract worth over $500 million per year. However, Messi opted for a new challenge in Major League Soccer (MLS) with Inter Miami.
“Messi to Arabia?”
“I don’t want to talk about football, that’s it. All the players that want to come are welcome. There is no problem with the league.”pic.twitter.com/3IUuhvk4Qm
— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) June 7, 2023
Meanwhile, his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo has found himself playing for Saudi club Al-Nassr and reveling in the Arabian soccer experience. Let’s dive into the reasons behind Messi’s choice and contrasts his path with that of Ronaldo’s, analyzing their respective careers as they enter their mid-30s.
Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo at 35
At the age of 35, Cristiano Ronaldo showcased his enduring prowess by playing for Juventus in top-tier Italian football. During his time with the Bianconeri, Ronaldo secured five major trophies, including two Serie A titles, two Supercoppa Italiana victories, and one Copa Italia triumph. His impact on Juventus and Italian football was undeniable, with his goals, leadership, and relentless drive elevating the club to greater heights. Ronaldo’s continued success at an elite level demonstrates his unwavering commitment to excellence and his ability to adapt to new challenges.
In contrast, Lionel Messi, at the same age, has embarked on a new journey with Inter Miami, a club currently struggling at the bottom of the MLS table. While the decision might raise eyebrows, it underscores Messi’s hunger for fresh experiences and his willingness to test himself in a different soccer environment. By joining Inter Miami, Messi aims to contribute to the growth of football in the United States and leave a lasting impact on the MLS.
Why didn’t Messi join FC Barcelona?
Messi’s decision to snub FC Barcelona and seek a new chapter in his career can be attributed to personal reasons. Reflecting on his departure from the club two years ago, Messi expressed his reluctance to find himself in a similar situation once again. In an interview with Mundo Deportivo, he revealed that he had extensive discussions with former teammate Xavi Hernandez, but ultimately opted against returning to Barcelona. He cited the desire to avoid depending on others when it came to shaping his future, alluding to the uncertainties he faced during his previous exit.
🗣️ Leo Messi: “I was already blamed for a lot of things that weren’t true in my career at Barcelona and I was a bit tired of it, I didn’t want to go through all that…
What were they going to say about me if they had to sell players or things like that for my signing?” pic.twitter.com/Iia3PBkm21
— Lionel Messi Fan Club (@LMessifanclub) June 8, 2023
The tumultuous circumstances surrounding Messi’s departure from Barcelona in 2021, including contractual disputes and a strained relationship with the club’s management, may have influenced his decision. Having experienced a challenging period, Messi decided to prioritize his well-being and avoid potential turmoil by venturing into uncharted territory with Inter Miami.
Lionel Messi’s surprising move to join Inter Miami instead of opting for lucrative offers from clubs like Al-Hilal showcases his thirst for new challenges and his commitment to shaping his destiny. While Cristiano Ronaldo continues to make an impact at the top level of European football, Messi’s decision to explore MLS demonstrates his desire to leave a lasting legacy beyond the traditional football powerhouses. As these two legends of the game approach their mid-30s, their divergent paths highlight their unique aspirations and the individual choices that shaped their illustrious careers.