Lionel Messi interview: Barcelona future, USA dream

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Lionel Messi’s future with Barcelona remains uncertain, but on Sunday, when Spanish TV channel La Sexta broadcast the pre-Christmas interview of the Argentine legend with journalist Jordi Evole, it became much clearer.

The conversation was long and far-reaching. Here are the big food stalls.

Messi will stay in Barcelona at least until the end of 2020-21

The 33-year-old tried to leave the only professional club he had ever known last summer but chose to stay for the final season of his contract rather than engaging in a lengthy and very public legal battle over a controversial escape clause.

“It was a way of making a point and expressing my feelings. I told the club I wanted to leave, ”Messi told Evole. “I felt like I had completed a cycle and it was time to leave the club that had given me so much. I wanted to win titles and fight for the Champions League and I felt it was time for change. “

With just over six months left from his current pact, Messi will be able to negotiate and sign a preliminary contract with any club outside Spain from January 1. Speculation about his plans is rife around the world, and Messi apparently wanted to sign the record just by revealing his plans.

“I will wait until the season is over,” he said. “The most important thing is to think about the team and try to win titles so as not to be distracted by other topics.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Messi insisted. “I’m focusing on what we have ahead of us for the next six months. It wouldn’t be right to tell you what I’ll do after that because even I don’t know … let’s see what happens and me will decide in the summer. “

Lionel Messi says he will not start negotiating a Barcelona exit during the January transfer window. (Photo by David Ramos / Getty Images)

Messi said he was happier now, and the departure of then club president Josep Bartomeu – the man who refused to let Messi go in August – seems to have eased some of the bitterness the game’s greatest player felt last summer . Messi said Bartomeu lied to him “about many things” but refused to go into details. “It will come out in the future,” said Messi.

… But Messi doesn’t like which way Barca are going

Messi could be desperate to win while he still can. But Barca are in the process of rebuilding. Veterans like Luis Suarez (Messi’s close friend) and Ivan Rakitić sent their things before the start of the season.

“It will be difficult to get back to where we were,” said Messi. “It won’t be easy for the new president to turn things around. I hope whoever wins is doing everything well to bring this great club back to where it deserves it. “(Victor Font and ex-Barca-Prez Joan Laporta are the favorites to succeed Bartomeu in next month’s elections.)

Messi was particularly critical of the decision to send Suarez to La Liga to face Atletico Madrid. “I thought it was crazy the way his outcome was handled,” said Messi. “Barcelona let him go to a direct rival.”

But his tone seemed to quieter when asked about Ronald Koeman, the manager of the first year. There has been much speculation that the two are not looking at eye level, but Messi has defended his coach’s results so far.

“It’s difficult for him as we are in transition,” Messi said of Koeman. “There are new players and young talents so it’s difficult.”

Barca are currently fifth in the table, eight points behind Atleti, who has a match in hand.

Messi remains an admirer of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

When Lionel Messi left Barcelona for Manchester City, he’d agreed to see coach Pep Guardiola again, not to mention the opportunity to play in the US late in his career. (Clive Brunskill / Pool via AP)

English Premier League titans Manchester City and French champions Paris Saint-Germain have been and are the frontrunners in landing Messi if he leaves Barca. The star is still a huge Guardiola fan, considered the BlaugranaThe Messi boss won two Champions League titles with Messi early in his career.

“His way of preparing for matches has been exceptional,” Messi said of Guardiola.

As for PSG, Barcelona will face the Champions League runner-up in the round of 16 of this year’s competition in February. Messi said he spoke to Neymar, the Paris headliner and Messi’s former teammate at the Camp Nou, after the December 16 draw that saw the two clubs face each other. The Brazilian recently said he hopes the pair can play on the same side again. But while there have been rumors that Neymar would like to return to Barca, where he contributed to the latest European title in 2015, Messi does not see it.

“The club are in a difficult time financially so it will be difficult to win Neymar,” he said. He did not mention the possibility that the reunion could take place in the French capital instead.

“It has always been a dream to play in the US”

Perhaps the biggest news that came out of the interview, aside from Messi who confirmed he won’t be looking for a new club in January, was the revelation that he is aiming for a turnaround in the MLS.

“I would like to play in the US one day and experience life and the league there … it has always been one of my dreams,” he said. “[But] I don’t think too far ahead; In the short term, I just want to see how the season ends. “

MLS is full of billionaire owners who could afford his otherworldly reward [Messi reportedly earns nine figures with Barca] and the prospect of joining a club might be as tempting as it is for David Beckham, who left Real Madrid in 2007 for the LA Galaxy. Beckham is now part of Inter Miami’s group of owners, and Messi previously joked about it in collaboration with the former English captain in South Florida.

However, any MLS step would be at least two years away. Indeed, the deal Man City was supposed to offer Messi last summer is said to include a language Messi would use to end his career with sister club New York City FC after two seasons in the Prem. One wonders if it was more than a coincidence that Messi mentioned the possibility.

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