Lionel Messi admits he wants to ‘experience life and the league’ in the United States as further questions about his future emerge
Speculation as to Messi's future has been rife since his acrimonious edict in August in which he demanded to leave the club he has represented since he was a child ultimately descended into a terse accord with the Barcelona hierarchy.
Amid the club's worst start to a season in more than three decades, further speculation appears inbound after a recent interview in which Messi once again suggested he could be inching towards the Camp Nou exit door.
Messi's deal with Barcelona expires at the end of this season, meaning that he is free to negotiate with clubs outside of Spain from January 1.Also on rt.com Incoming PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino ‘will try to lure Lionel Messi to Paris and reunite Argentine star with Neymar’
While more than a few gallons of newspaper ink have been spilled linking Messi to one of Europe's powerhouse clubs, he told Spanish television station La Sexta that his next move could be to the US, although his focus remains trained on helping Barcelona out of their La Liga funk.
"Far from it – my plan is to give all I can for the club at the moment," said Messi when asked if he has plans to exercise a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for free at the conclusion of a league campaign.
"I would like to play in the United States and experience life and the league there, but ultimately come back to Barcelona in some capacity. I’m not thinking too far ahead in the short term and just want to see how the season finishes."
This news likely won't be met with glee in the boardrooms of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, the two European clubs with the type of financial clout thought to make them suitors for Messi's signature.
Messi was thought to be close to moving to Pep Guardiola's City in August before he withdrew his transfer request, while Paris are also understood to have investigated how they can reunite Neymar with the ex-Barca strike partner he has pined for repeatedly in the media.
City, though, have explored the possibility of offering Messi a package deal with the City Football Group which would see Messi join Guardiola's side for a few seasons before departing to their MLS franchise New York City FC, after which he would serve as the firm's global ambassador when he ends his playing career.Also on rt.com ‘Guardiola has something special about him’: Lionel Messi ignites Man City transfer speculation AGAIN as he heaps praise on Pep
Despite openly wrangling for a move just months ago, Messi appears to have softened his stance when it comes to severing his Barcelona ties.
"It was far from easy for me to say I wanted to leave the club and the city but I genuinely felt it was time to go," Messi explained.
"I felt I'd completed a cycle and it was time to leave the club that had given me so much.
"I wanted to win titles and battle for the Champions League and felt it was time for change. The president [Josep Bartomeu] then started to filter this and that to paint a negative picture of me."
With Bartomeu no longer at the helm of the club, Messi appears content to stay and help steady the ship - for the time being, at least.Also on rt.com ‘No one will ever beat this record’: Messi strikes to surpass Pele in all-time scoring charts for single club