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Lionel Messi after PSG departure: “My first thought was to go home to Barcelona.”

Lionel Messi (36) has said that upon leaving Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, his first thought was to return to former club Barcelona. 

Messi’s two-year spell at PSG came to an end in acrimonious circumstances. The Argentinian international won two Ligue 1 titles during his time at the Parc des Princes, but he was loudly booed by the home fans towards the end of last season after a suspension for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia. Whilst Messi was reintegrated into the setup by Christophe Galtier, his time at PSG was arguably irreversibly tarnished. 

Throughout his final season, the question of an extension for Messi lingered. His escapade to the Gulf State put pay to the chances of remaining at the club. He was therefore forced to search for a new club, and in an interview with France Football, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner said that his thoughts immediately turned to a Barcelona return. “I could have gone back to Barcelona, but it didn’t happen,” said Messi. 

When I had to leave the club (in 2021), it was like that. Here, it was the same, even if the circumstances were different. My first thought was to go home to Barcelona, to play for Barcelona again and to retire there, as I had always dreamed. But that wasn’t possible. We therefore took the decision to come here (Inter Miami),” added the former PSG forward. 

Messi added that the fact he had won the World Cup with Argentina and therefore achieved everything that he wanted to achieve in his footballing career, allowed him to consider non-sporting aspects when moving to the USA. “I achieved all of the objectives that I set myself in my career, which allowed me to think beyond the sporting side of things, to think about my family as well, to make the most of another point of view,” he said.

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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