The Inter Miami’s failure to qualify for the Major League Soccer (MLS) playoffs could result in Lionel Messi being away from football for four months. The North American team will play its last match of 2023 on October 21 and would only return to activities in March 2024. This extended period of inactivity has led to speculations.
The Catalan media has once again mentioned the possibility of Messi being loaned to Barcelona for six months. The newspaper Sport mentions this alternative but with several caveats: LaLiga could make the registration process difficult, and, most importantly, there is no ongoing negotiation.
Rumors gained strength after the Inter Miami president opened the door to Messi bidding farewell at Barcelona. Sport also reports that Saudi clubs are considering trying to sign the player for the first six months of 2024. Before moving to the United States, the Argentine turned down an offer from Al-Hilal, which would have made him the highest-paid athlete in history.
Coach Tata Martino was asked about Messi’s future after Inter Miami’s absence from the playoffs was confirmed. However, he didn’t provide many details:
“Maybe he’ll visit Barcelona. Besides that, I don’t have any more information,” the coach commented.
Messi returned to play last Saturday in the 1-0 defeat to Cincinnati after being sidelined for three weeks due to an injury. This result eliminated all chances of Inter Miami qualifying for the MLS playoffs. Messi’s team still has two games left against Charlotte FC, which are just for formality in the tournament.
The number 10 reported to the Argentine national team on Monday to begin preparations for the two upcoming rounds of the qualifiers. The current world champion faces Paraguay on Thursday and visits Peru next Tuesday.
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