Lionel Messi is not going anywhere after the MLS season, he says. Last week, speculation mounted that the Argentine would duly head back to a top European team on loan this winter. Xavi's Barcelona would've been the likeliest destination. But not this year; Messi is enjoying his time off in Argentina and Florida.
Why Messi refuses to go on loan, prefers rest
Lionel Messi has relished a brief but successful stint at Inter Miami this season. He helped the Herons clinch their first club trophy last August in the MLS Leagues Cup. However, his late-season injury absences hurt Miami's last-gasp playoff chances. The Herons play Charlotte in their final game of the regular season on October 21.
That's where Messi, who started and scored a brace against Peru in Argentina's World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night, will bid farewell to his first MLS half-season. He'll get ready for his first full season next year. The MLS kicks back off in February.
Reporters asked Messi last night about his plans this offseason. When asked if he'd go on loan, he promptly said “no.”
“It's a shame (we didn't qualify),” Messi told reporters.
“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. But we won a tournament, which is important for the club and for what is coming next year.”
So what will Messi do instead? How about some much-deserved family time and rest?
Said Messi, “I will train, I will play our upcoming match 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.”