WHAT HAPPENED? Messi’s Inter Miami contract is set to expire in 2025, at which point – according to El Nacional – he will look to return to boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina. There is an option for the World Cup winner to extend his deal with Miami for an extra year, but the report states that he wants to retire in his homeland.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi left Barcelona in 2021 after more than two decades at the club, having joined the Spanish giants from Newell’s as a 13-year-old. He snubbed a return to Camp Nou when he left Paris Saint-Germain over the summer, and it now looks like a fairy tale return to Barca is never going to happen.
WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI?: Messi scored 10 goals in his first seven games for David Beckham’s Miami franchise, but he has spent the past month injured. He will play a farewell match at Barcelona at some point, even if he does not return to play for the club.
Messi was nearing free agency with Paris Saint-Germain at the time. Rather than wait for the Catalans to get their financial house in order, however, the number 10 ventured over the Atlantic to Inter Miami in the MLS where he has proven a roaring success.
Finally playing for Newell’s as a professional would bookend Messi’s journey perfectly after leaving their academy as a 13-year-old to take a successful trial at FC Barcelona.
Regardless of where he ends up next, though, it is still likely that Messi dons Blaugrana once more in his own tribute match when the renovation of their Camp Nou stadium is finished.