Barcelona manager Xavi says Lionel Messi’s decision to snub a return to the club was due to his desire to play at a team where he would not get much attention.
Messi opted for a move to Inter Miami amid links with Saudi Arabia side Al Hilal and coming back to Spain to play for Barcelona.
He ended a two-year stay in France after signing as a free agent for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 after leaving Barcelona.
Following the 35-year-old forward’s move to Inter Miami, Barcelona’s public relations machine has been in full swing. While Messi claimed that an official offer from his previous club never arrived, Catalonia said agreements were agreed upon and that Messi had chosen 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 had previously been keen on having his former teammate join the current project at Camp Nou despite Barcelona’s severe financial issues, which led to his departure in 2021, the former midfielder stated that the pressure of being the world’s finest player played a role in the final decision.
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.,” Xavi told Portuguese publication Ge.
“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.”
The Argentine international now looks ahead to playing in the Major League Soccer with Inter Miami.
Manchester City win
Inter Milan are a compact side and will likely make things difficult for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side. But the Cityzens have shown time and time again that they can overcome any challenge they face this season. With one eye on a historic treble, Man City will be extra motivated for this final.