Lionel Messi reveals Inter Miami will be his ‘last club’

Lionel Messi reveals Inter Miami will be his ‘last club’

Lionel Messi said Inter Miami is going to be his “last club” and admitted that “there’s not a lot of time left” in his career.

Messi, 36, joined Inter Miami last summer, bringing an end to his 20-year stint in Europe in which he played for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored 14 goals in all competitions for an Inter Miami side that is top of the Eastern Conference this season.

Messi has been joined by his former Barcelona teammates Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba at Miami and told ESPN Argentina in an exclusive interview that he thinks “it’s going to be my last club.”

Messi is Barcelona’s top scorer with 672 goals and scored 32 goals and registered 35 assists in his two seasons at PSG. In a storied career that has seen him win 40 trophies for club and country — including four Champions Leagues and a Copa América title — its crowning glory is the World Cup he won with Argentina in 2022.

Messi told ESPN for the interview broadcast Wednesday that the triumph in Qatar gave him new perspective on his career.

Lionel Messi has admitted that he’s approaching the end of his career. Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images
“I’ve done this all of my life; I love playing ball. I enjoy the practices and the day-to-day, the games. Yeah, there’s a bit of fear that it’s all ending. It’s always there. It was a difficult step leaving Europe to come here [Miami],” he said.

“The fact we won the World Cup helped, it helped a lot, to see things in another way. But I try not to think about it. I try to enjoy it. I do that more now because I’m aware that there’s not a lot of time left. So I have a good time with the club, being lucky having good teammates and friends at my side.

“I enjoy my time with the national team, where I also have good friends, too, and a lot. I enjoy those small details that I know I’ll miss when I stop playing.”

While injuries saw Messi miss Argentina’s games against El Salvador and Costa Rica in March, he remains integral to the team’s chances of retaining the Copa América later this summer and marked his return to the international stage in Argentina’s win over Ecuador on Sunday.

“Argentina is always a favorite and a contender, at Copa America as well as in World Cups,” Messi said. “We’re more of a favorite now because of where we’re coming from, having won the last Copa America, the Finalissima and the World Cup — and because of the group of players we have.

“I’ve been training for a few days and what never fails to surprise me is how they practice, the guys’ attitude, the desire to win, the hunger to keep winning. It’s going to be a difficult Copa America, very balanced as it’s always been, but we have a good chance to again be among the best.”

Messi also spoke about comments made by Real Madrid and France star Kylian Mbappé in the comparison of competitive levels between the European Championship and the World Cup.

“Well, everybody prioritizes their tournament,” Messi said. “Obviously, the Euro is very important and has the best teams, but he’s leaving out three-time champion Argentina, five-time champion Brazil, two-time champion Uruguay. There are a lot of world champions left off to say that it’s the most difficult tournament.

“The best teams play in the World Cup, which generally includes all the world champions. There’s a reason everybody wants to be champions.”

Asked what Messi would say to Diego Maradona if the Argentina legend were still alive, Messi said he tries to “remember all the good times.”

“Obviously, I was sad that he couldn’t experience what we experienced [winning the 2022 World Cup], because I know what he felt for the national team and that he wanted Argentina to be world champion again,” Messi said.

“We went through a World Cup together which aside from the result was an impressive experience, going through that day-to-day with him, how happy he was, seeing him enjoy being the manager,” he said.

“So I try to remember all the good times that we had together. I know that he loved me a lot, and I loved him, despite what was said in the media.

“The reality is we had a lot of affection for each other, and since he met me he was always supportive and wanted the best for me. It was a shame that he couldn’t live to experience it like the rest of the country did.”

With the 2026 World Cup only two years away and Messi having a chance to play in a record sixth, he was still noncommittal about whether or not he would participate in the tournament to be hosted in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

“I’m not there to set any record or to say that I’ve played in five or six World Cups, no,” Messi said. “I never gave much thought to records. It’s a great thing to hold records and continue seeking accomplishments, but I wouldn’t be at a World Cup just to say that I’ve been in six of them.

“If it happens, if I’m doing well and it all happens how it’s supposed to, then perfect. But to be there just because, no.”

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