Friday June 9, 2023 – Barcelona coach, Xavi believes Lionel Messi snubbed a return to the club in the hope of seeking a ‘quieter life’ in the MLS, after the Argentine confirmed his historic summer move to Inter Miami this week.
Messi decided to sign with the American outfit despite a reported £345million per year offer from Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal, which would have made him the highest-paid sports athlete in history.
Reflecting on his former team-mate’s decision to join Inter Miami rather than Barcelona or Al-Hilal, Xavi proposed that the move was in pursuit of a life further away from the spotlight.
‘We often don’t put ourselves in the other’s shoes, we lack empathy. Being Leo Messi is not easy,’ the Barcelona manager told Portuguese outfit Ge on Thursday.
‘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.’
He added: ‘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.’
Barcelona are also been speculating the return of PSG forward Neymar, with the Brazilian expected to leave the Parc de Princes this summer following an inconsistent run with the French giants.
Xavi played down the potential move, saying: ‘I’m surprised (with the speculations). He is not in our plans.
‘I really like Ney as a friend, but we have different priorities.’