Lionel Messi will not make a decision about his long-term future at Barcelona until the season is over, with the great Argentine raising the possibility of playing in MLS.
“I’m going to wait until the end of the season (to decide),” Messi, 33, told Spanish private station La Sexta.
“I would like to play in the United States and experience life and the league there, but in the end I will return to Barcelona in some way.”
Messi’s future has been a hot topic since he tried to leave Barcelona in August.
He put those plans on hold when the club insisted on enforcing his € 700 million ($ A1.1 billion) exit clause in case another club wanted to sign him.
“Now I’m focused on winning titles instead of other things,” Messi said in the rare interview.
Messi’s commitment is a long way from the summer in which it seemed certain that he would leave the club after a confrontation with the club’s hierarchy and label the presidency of Josep Maria Bartomeu a “disaster”.
Messi said he would not publicly endorse any of the candidates who plan to stand in the club elections scheduled for January 24.
He was also not overly enthusiastic about the immediate prospects for the team, which ranks fifth in La Liga.
“May the best candidate win,” Messi said.
“Whoever does it will find themselves in a very difficult situation, it will not be easy to turn this around.
“It will be difficult to bring players. That takes a lot of money and there is no money.
“We need several important players to fight for the titles again.”
Barcelona reported losses of 97 million euros ($ A155 million) last season and sold several veteran players, including Messi’s attacking partner and good friend Luis Suárez.
The interview with Spanish journalist Jordi Evole was recently recorded and aired hours after Barcelona announced that Messi would miss Tuesday’s league game against Eibar with an unspecified ankle injury.
Live thread: Exclusive interview of Lionel Messi to La Sexta. pic.twitter.com/MuzG3fGWkt
– barcacentre (@barcacentre) December 27, 2020
Messi, who can negotiate with other clubs as of January 1 as his contract with Barcelona will expire in June, is reportedly taking a short winter break in Argentina after the club gave its players time off. In Christmas.
After Eibar, Barcelona’s next league game is in Huesca on January 3.
Messi has helped Barcelona win four Champions League and 10 Spanish league titles since his debut in 2004.