Lionel Messi’s next steps have been confirmed by Fabrizio Romano, who has lifted the lid on what the Inter Miami star’s plans for the winter are given that his season in MLS is over.
Messi, who is favourite to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or, was unable to guide David Beckham’s franchise to the post-season, despite showing blistering form for the club since arriving as a free agent in the summer.
The Argentine scored 11 goals in 14 appearances for the club and led them from the foot of the Eastern Conference to the cusp of the playoffs, yet an injury at an inopportune moment meant that his side missed out.
Meanwhile, there has been speculation that Messi could make a loan move in the January transfer window to get some additional playing time.
Barcelona have been widely cited as a potential destination for the superstar, while rumours emerged that he could join Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal as a stop-gap replacement for the injured Neymar.
The truth behind Messi’s loan plans
Romano, though, says that the 37-year-old will be going nowhere.
“He’s not going to any club on loan. Many people were hoping for Messi to do something like David Beckham or Thierry Henry to return to Europe before the new MLS season begins in February,” football transfer news expert Romano explained.
“Leo Messi, from what I’m told, always had the same idea: stay at Inter Miami and don’t go on loan to Barcelona or any other club. And now what happens? He’ll play for Argentina in November then in December he’ll relax a bit, rest a bit. First week in January, Messi will be back for pre-season and then in February, he’ll be back on the pitch with Inter Miami.
“And remember, in one week’s time there’s the Ballon d’Or gala in Paris and Leo Messi will be there. We know the feeling around him and this Ballon d’Or.”
This will be the second time in 2023 that the player has disappointed Barcelona, who had hoped to sign him on a free transfer in the summer.
Messi, who is expected to lift his eighth Ballon d’Or after leading Argentina to the World Cup, will therefore take a differing approach to Inter Miami co-owner Beckham, who made two high-profile loan moves to AC Milan during his playing stint in MLS with LA Galaxy.