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Lionel Messi return to Barcelona was ‘close’ reveals La Liga president

Barcelona tried to re-sign Lionel Messi on a free transfer last summer, but the World Cup winner chose Inter Miami over the Catalan club due to their FFP concerns

Lionel Messi wanted a return to Barcelona last summer

La Liga president Javier Tebas has opened up on just how close Lionel Messi came close to re-signing for Barcelona last summer before he signed with Inter Miami.

Messi, 36, left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season when his contract expired, despite previously reaching an agreement on an extension before later reversing that decision. As a free agent, the World Cup winner received a ludicrously lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia ‘s Al-Hilal and a proposal from Barcelona to return home after spending two seasons away in Paris.

However, he turned down advances from both clubs to sign for Miami, a move Barcelona, bizarrely, announced days before the player did. Tebas has now shared how closely the Catalan club came to pulling off an unlikely deal.

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“Personally, because of Messi’s and Barça’s desire, I saw it as close,” he said, translated from a Spanish livestream on Kick. “When there is that affection, many economic issues are left aside.

“I saw it as possible. I saw it as close. I am sure that Messi would have liked to retire at Barça.”

Luis Suarez also spoke about his close friend Messi retiring at Barcelona earlier this year during his introductory press conference after signing for Inter Miami. “I never imagined it (reuniting with Messi in Miami) because I thought that Leo would finish his career at Barcelona, a club where he’s always been appreciated, a team where he achieved everything he wanted,” Suarez said.

Fans can follow all the action from the states on Apple TV+ with the MLS Season Pass. You can catch Lionel Messi’s debut season in the competiton, including Cup matches, as well as getting exclusive access to live games, highlight shows and interviews.

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