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SPORTS | 12-06-2024 14:40

Messi expects Inter Miami to be his final club

Lionel Messi says he expects Inter Miami to be the club where he closes his legendary playing career.

Lionel Messi says he expects Inter Miami to be the club where he closes his legendary playing career, but he is not intending to depart right away.

The Argentine skipper, who has a contract with the MLS squad until the end of the 2025 campaign, made his comments to ESPN in an interview to be broadcast on Wednesday.

It potentially rules out the change of a long-desired return to Argentine club Newell's Old Boys.

"Yes, as of today, I think it's going to be my last club," Messi told ESPN.

But Messi, who turns 37 on June 24, also added, "I'm not ready to leave football either."

The record eight-time Ballon d'Or winner became a legend with Barcelona, helping capture four Champions League crowns and 10 La Liga titles.

Messi sparked Argentina victories in the 2021 Copa America and 2022 World Cup and is set to play for Argentina in this month's Copa América, to be staged in the United States.

After playing for Barca from 2004-2021, Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain from 2021-2023 and then moved to Inter Miami last year, helping the club win the Leagues Cup crown in his early days with the squad.

"It was a difficult step to leave Europe to come here," Messi said. 

"The fact of having been world champion helped a lot to see things differently also."

Messi's star turn raised the profile for MLS in the United States, matches selling out wherever he plays and his shirt by far the most popular among MLS shirt purchasers.

Messi now ponders playing for his homeland in the 2026 World Cup, to be co-hosted by the USA with Mexico and Canada, and is contemplating the end of his incredible career.

"My whole life I did this. I love playing ball. I enjoy the training, the day every day, of the matches. A little afraid that everything will end," Messi said.

"I try to enjoy. That's why I enjoy everything much more, because I'm aware that there's less and less to go and I have a good time at the club.

"How lucky I am to have colleagues and friends by my side. I had a good time in the selection, where I have teammates and friends too, and many of them, and I enjoy the little details that I know I'm going to miss when I don't play anymore."

 

– TIMES/AFP

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