Lionel Messi writes in Sports Illustrated that he loves Argentina and would like to move back someday.
Lionel Messi has no plans to leave Barcelona any time soon, but when he does, don’t be surprised to see the soccer legend back in his home country.
In a first–person essay for Sports Illustrated told to SI’s Grant Wahl, Messi says he could see himself living in Argentina again, the country he plays for internationally but has not lived in since he was 13.
“Sometimes people have questioned my Argentine-ness, especially when the national team hasn’t done well, but I love my country deeply and would like to move back someday,” Messi says in the essay. “Part of my family still lives there: my mom; my brother Matías; my sister; and Anto’s family. We’re constantly in contact with them. ”
Messi has lived in Europe for much of his life after he was nabbed by Barcelona scouts at a young age. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner says he still embraces his Argentine roots in Spain, drinking maté tea and eating Milanesa pork regularly.
Whenever Messi returns to his home country, he’ll have to make a stop in the United States first. Messi will lead Argentina in the Copa America Centenario in the United States beginning in June.