Barcelona manager Xavi has stated that Lionel Messi chose Inter Miami over a return to Camp Nou because he prefers a “quieter life.”
Messi announced his decision to move to the United States this week after it was confirmed the World Cup winner would not extend his two-season stay with Paris Saint-Germain. There was also a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian giants Al Hilal.
Barcelona’s PR machine has been in full force in the wake of the legendary forward’s switch to Inter Miami. While Messi said a formal offer from his former club never came, a statement from Catalonia said terms were put to the 35-year-old and added Messi had opted to “compete in a league with fewer demands, further away from the spotlight and the pressure he has been subject to in recent years”.
Xavi has previously said the ball was in Messi’s court despite Barca’s infamous financial difficulties that resulted in his exit in 2021 and the former midfielder insisted the pressure of being the world’s best player was a factor in the final outcome.
He told Portuguese publication Ge: “We often don’t put ourselves in the other’s shoes, we lack empathy. Being Leo Messi is not easy.
“He never has peace of mind and has to be a ‘ten’ in everything. He doesn’t want that kind of pressure anymore, it’s normal.
“He has been wanting to lower the pressure and tension level. He wants a quieter life.
“I noticed a change in him in the last few days and weeks. He doesn’t see that so clearly and we have to respect him.
“The excitement is generated because the two of us talk a lot. We were all excited. But the circumstances did not occur.
“It’s a personal decision and you have to respect it, he’s the best player in history.”
Away from the Messi saga, Xavi has also revealed he wants two new midfielders in the summer transfer window to deal with the exit of Sergio Busquets.
Ilkay Gundogan could arrive at Camp Nou on a free transfer with his Manchester City contract due to expire this month, while club teammate Bernardo Silva and compatriot Joshua Kimmich are also of interest to the Catalan giants.