Originally Published: 07 JUN 23 12:08 ET
Updated: 07 JUN 23 16:10 ET
By David Close, CNN
“I made the decision that I am going to Miami. I still haven’t closed it one hundred percent. I’m missing some things but we decided to continue my journey there,” the seven-time world player of the year said in an interview posted by Spanish outlets SPORT and Mundo Deportivo.
Earlier Wednesday, the CEO and managing owner of Inter Miami tweeted a cryptic picture of a No. 10 shirt with a last name partially revealed – showing just the last two letters, “SI.”
MLS said a deal with Messi has not been completed, but welcomed the prospect of Messi playing in the league.
“We are pleased that Lionel Messi has stated that he intends to join Inter Miami and Major League Soccer this summer,” the league said in a Wednesday statement. “Although work remains to finalize a formal agreement, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time to our League.”
CNN has reached out to Inter Miami, Messi’s representative and David Beckham – who is part of Inter Miami’s ownership team.
There had been speculation around Messi’s next move since he announced his departure from French side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), playing his last game for the club on Sunday.
An earlier BBC report by football reporter Guillem Balague said Messi, who won the World Cup with Argentina in December, was set to turn down an offer from Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal.
Messi left Barcelona in tears in 2021 after financial mismanagement at the club, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, meant it was unable to offer its talisman a new contract.
He went on to win two Ligue 1 titles in his two seasons at PSG, but was unable to help the club win the Champions League for the first time in its history.
Messi’s time at the club ended acrimoniously after PSG suspended him for taking an unauthorized trip abroad to Saudi Arabia, for which he later apologized.
Before his two-season stint with PSG, Messi spent 17 trophy-laden years at Barcelona, where he turned from schoolboy to sporting legend.
Earlier this week, his father and agent, Jorge Messi, said his son’s preferred move would be a return to Barcelona.
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.