Prior to joining Inter Miami, Lionel Messi acknowledged that he was intrigued to play in the Saudi Pro League alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi left Paris Saint-Germain in the summer to sign a free agent contract with Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami . The victor of the World Cup went on to have a significant influence on American football, taking home the Leagues Cup and luring Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets away from Barcelona. Messi has now acknowledged that he did have the choice to transfer to the Saudi Pro League and that he did think about moving to the Middle East to join his enduring adversary Ronaldo.
Messi told Time: “My first option was to return to Barcelona, but it was not possible. I tried to return, and it did not happen. It is also true that later I was thinking a lot about going to the Saudi league, where I know the country and they have created a very powerful competition that can become an important league in the near future. It was Saudi Arabia or MLS, and both options seemed very interesting to me.”
Despite making significant investments to sign players like Ronaldo, Neymar, and Karim Benzema, the Saudi Pro League was unable to sign Messi, even though they received high-ball bids. Instead, Messi chose to live in the United States, where his influence is seen off the pitch. According to reports, despite raising their rates in response to Messi’s arrival, Inter Miami has already sold out of season tickets for 2024. A-listers like LeBron James and Kim Kardashian have been drawn to watch the Argentine superstar play, which has led to a spike in interest in the sport in the United States.
Messi has been seen working hard in the gym during the offseason, but he is presently taking advantage of a rare break after the conclusion of the Major League Soccer season. On January 19, the Herons are scheduled to play their first preseason friendly against El Salvador. By then, Messi might have been joined by another old teammate from Barcelona. Though Luis Suarez has hinted at retiring due to a problematic knee issue, it is likely that he would join him in Miami for a single season.