Lionel Messi confirms stance on loan move to Barcelona

  • Messi has insisted he will not join Barcelona on loan in the winter
  • Inter Miami failed to qualify for the post-season after early MLS struggles
  • The 36-year-old joined Miami in the summer after leaving PSG on a free transfer

Messi in MLS action
Messi in MLS action / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Lionel Messi has confirmed he will not be leaving Inter Miami on loan during the MLS postseason break.

The legendary Argentine - voted 90min's greatest footballer of all time - joined Inter Miami as a free agent in July following the expiration of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain, and made an immediate impact with the Herons.

Messi inspired the organisation to its first ever trophy, helping Inter Miami win the 2023 Leagues Cup final with a goal against fellow MLS outfit Nashville SC.

Despite winning 12 of his 13 games as part of the Miami lineup, Messi was unable to guide the team to the MLS play-offs thanks to an injury which saw him miss six games in a row - all games which Inter Miami, coincidentally, failed to win.

Without play-off qualification, rumours have circulated regarding a potential loan move back to Europe during the off-season - something which the likes of Robbie Keane, David Beckham and Landon Donovon all did in order to maintain match fitness.

As expected, those rumours have largely centred around a short return to Barcelona, who tried to re-sign Messi before he moved to Inter Miami.

When asked about a loan move in the winter however, Messi replied:  "No.

"It's a shame [we didn't qualify]. We came very close. I missed the last few games, we had several injuries. The month of July was very hard for us, we played every three days, we traveled. But we won a tournament, which is important for the club and for what is coming next year.

Lionel Messi
Messi in action for Argentina / Leonardo Fernandez/GettyImages

"I will train, I will play our upcoming match [against Charlotte FC] and I will try to get here [to the national team] in the best possible way for November.

"After that, I will enjoy the holidays in Argentina. It's the first time that I am going to have more days off in December, with the holidays, with peace of mind, with my people. In January, I will return again to do preseason. Start from scratch and prepare as best as possible as always."

Messi returned to action in Argentina's most recent World Cup qualifier, and scored a brace of goals in a 2-0 win over Peru. But he was nowhere to be seen for Miami's final game of the regular MLS season - a 2-2 draw with franchise upstarts Charlotte FC.

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