Argentine striker Lionel Messi announced Thursday that he will join MLS club Inter Miami. File Photo by Chris Brunskill/UPI | License Photo
June 8 (UPI) -- Soccer icon Lionel Messi says he "never wanted" to join Paris Saint-Germain on the heels of his two-year tenure with the French soccer franchise, which ended with a Ligue 1 title and decision to join MLS.
Messi made the comment during a TV interview Wednesday with Sport and Mundo Deportivo. The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner also used the interview to announce his decision to join Inter Miami, turning down offers from FC Barcelona and the Saudi Pro League.
Messi joined Barcelona in 2000. He left the club in 2021 to join PSG.
"I had to come to Paris, stay in a hotel for a long time with my family, with my children going to school and still being in the hotel," Messi told Sport and Mundo Deportivo. "We never, ever wanted to come.
"It was very, very, very difficult, but the family supports me and it is a collective decision, not only mine. There is a tinge of sadness for them now, because while it was hard for them at the beginning, they are now more adapted to Paris.
"I have just had two years in which things were not great for the family and I didn't enjoy it. That month was spectacular for me when we won the World Cup, but apart from that, it has been a difficult time for me."
Messi agreed to a two-year deal, worth $34.6 million per season, with PSG. That pact, which expires later this month, included a third-year option. He said at the time that he wished he could have stayed at the Spanish La Liga club.
Messi isn't expected to make his MLS debut until next month, at the earliest. The next MLS transfer window opens July 5.
Inter Miami will face the New England Revolution at 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. They have additional upcoming games scheduled June 24, July 1, 4, 8, 15, 21 and 25. Several outlets reported that Messi could make his debut during a game against Mexico's Cruz Azul on July 21 in Miami.
The least expensive tickets for that match were listed for more than $520 on the secondary markets as of Thursday morning.
Inter Miami sits in last place in the Eastern Conference, with five wins and 11 losses through 16 games.