Lionel Messi’s decision to leave Paris Saint-Germain to come to the United States and join MLS club Inter Miami delivered a seismic shift to the soccer world on Wednesday. After he and Miami made the announcement official, the Argentinian superstar explained why he opted to head to the U.S. at this stage of his career.
“After winning the World Cup and not being able to return to Barcelona, it was my turn to go to the league of the United States to live football in another way and to enjoy the day to day more,” Messi told Spanish publications Mundo Deportivo and Sport, per ESPN. “Obviously, with the same responsibility and desire to play well and do things well as always. But in a calmer way.”
The 35-year-old has spent the past two seasons at PSG following a renowned 17-year run with Barcelona, where he guided the club to four UEFA Champions League titles. He arrives in Miami with a record seven Ballon d’Or trophies, given annually to the best player in the world.
Along with Barcelona, Messi was being pursued by a host of other clubs, including the Saudi Arabian Pro League’s Al Hilal. In opening up about his decision to choose Miami, Messi insisted that he could have gotten more money elsewhere.
“If if had been a matter of money, I’d have gone to [Saudi] Arabia or elsewhere,” Messi said. “It seemed like a lot of money to me. The truth is that my final decision goes elsewhere and not because of money.”