Lionel Messi says he will not leave Inter Miami to go on loan this winter

Messi was rumored to potentially rejoin Barcelona or go to the Saudi Pro League on loan to keep his match fitness. (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP) (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images) (ERNESTO BENAVIDES via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi will not be joining another club on loan once Inter Miami’s MLS season comes to an end on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters following Argentina’s 2-0 win over Peru on Tuesday, Messi said he will continue to train ahead of La Albiceleste’s November World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay and Brazil. After that? Lots of rest ahead of the 2024 MLS season.

“It’s a shame [Miami didn’t make the playoffs],” Messi said. “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.

“I will train, I will play our upcoming match [Saturday vs. 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.”

There had been talk that Messi might head to Barcelona or the Saudi Pro League on loan during the winter to keep his match fitness, but after a busy year that included winning the World Cup and Ligue 1, and then playing Inter Miami’s heavy match schedule as they attempted to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs, a break is needed.

Inter Miami plays Charlotte FC twice this week to finish out their season. Messi, who will reportedly win his eighth Ballon d’Or trophy later this month as world player of the year, is not expected to play Wednesday night as he will be returning from international duty. His status for the finale Saturday will be up to head coach Tata Martino.

“We also have to see that we have no possibility at making the playoffs and the most convenient thing is to avoid risks,” Martino said.

A scar tissue injury forced Messi to miss a number of games for Inter Miami, including the U.S. Open Cup final where it lost to the Houston Dynamo. The Herons did lift one trophy this season, winning the 2023 Leagues Cup, which saw Messi finish as the tournament’s leading scorer with 10 goals.


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