Barcelona president, Joan Laporta has admitted it is ‘strange’ seeing Lionel Messi in an Inter Miami jersey.
Messi moved to the United States to join the franchise after leaving PSG earlier this month.
The Argentine forward had been linked with a sensational return to Barcelona, where he spent 17 years between 2004 and 2021, with Laporta involved in negotiations over a possible deal. But an agreement never materialized and the World Cup-winning captain moved Stateside to join David Beckham’s club.
Speaking to ESPN, Laporta explained his feelings towards Messi playing in Miami, before wishing the 36-year-old his best.
‘It’s a strange feeling,’ he said. ‘We identify Messi with Barcelona. That’s the way I think most supporters see Messi, because most of his career has been at Barca.
‘But we respect his decision and we wish the best for him. We want the best for our players. He came to Barcelona as a kid, 14-years-old, and he spent 20 years with us. I hope he can be very happy in Miami.’
But he ended up in North America and continues to excite fans of Inter after two impressive performances so far.
‘It was very close,’ Laporta added on discussions over a return. ‘We had to manage our financial fair play situation so we needed time.
‘At the end, we reached an agreement with LaLiga that authorized us to add him to the squad.
‘But Leo was coming from a situation in Paris where he was under a lot of pressure. His father told me that he needed a place where he won’t be under pressure and at Barca that would not be the case because of the meaning of the return of our hero.’