Lionel Messi is unwilling to sign a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain and could leave the French giants in the summer following a dramatic U-turn.
Messi, 35, is out of contract in June but was expected to sign a one-year extension with PSG. It is believed the Argentina captain has had a change of heart after winning the World Cup in Qatar, which was the one major trophy missing from his cabinet.
It could be argued that Messi has nothing left to prove and may return to Argentina or move to the MLS, with David Beckham’s Inter Miami interested. Barcelona are not expected to attempt to re-sign their greatest ever player due to their financial woes.
As reported by Spanish outlet Marca, Messi is not motivated to win more titles in France or the Champions League again after leading Argentina to their third World Cup and achieving his ultimate dream. PSG want the Barcelona icon to stay in Paris.
Messi’s change of heart has put several clubs on red alert. Marca claim Barcelona would love to re-sign their iconic No.10, but this contrasts with other reports. According to fellow Spanish outlet Directo Gol, it is ‘impossible’ for Messi to return to the Camp Nou.
Messi would need to accept a significantly lower salary if he returns to Barcelona, but that is also the case if he moves to Argentina. An emotional return to boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys – who he left in 2000 to join Barcelona – has been rumoured.
A spell in Argentina would be a homecoming for Messi after his World Cup triumph. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has never played professional football in his homeland and he may fancy a spell before calling time on his record-breaking career.
Miami would also not be able to match Messi’s salary at PSG, but he has previously expressed a desire to play in the MLS and owns a property in Miami.
Beckham and his co-owners have been courting the forward’s signature for a while.
Miami co-owner Jorge Mas said in February: “Leo Messi is still one of the best players in the world, his skills have not diminished. I believe, and David has a relationship with him, that if he leaves PSG, at the time he leaves PSG we would love to have Messi as a player at Inter Miami and be part of our community.
“Can it happen? We will push. I’m an optimist at heart – can I see it happening? It’s a possibility.”
Another option is Saudi Arabia, with Al-Hilal interested. The Saudis would probably be willing to eclipse Messi’s salary at PSG after Al-Nassr handed Cristiano Ronaldo a reported £173m per year contract – making him the best-paid footballer on the planet. Messi is already an ambassador for the Saudis and played in an all-star game against a Ronaldo-led team earlier this month. Ultimately, Messi has a lot of options on the table and is no rush to decide whether to stay at PSG or seek a new adventure.