Lionel Messi Says Inter Miami Will Be the Last Club of His Career

David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Lionel Messi revealed that Inter Miami will be his final club while addressing ongoing retirement rumors in an exclusive interview with ESPN on Wednesday. 

The 36-year-old said he expects to end his club career with Inter Miami but left his international future–namely, whether he would participate in the 2026 World Cup—up in the air. Messi, an eight-time Ballon d’Or winner, joined Inter Miami in the summer of 2023 after playing for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain for two decades. His Inter Miami contract expires at the end of 2025 but carries an option for 2026.

“Right now I think Inter Miami is going to be my last club, yes,” Messi told ESPN. “I’m having a good time at the club with the good fortune to have teammates and my friends next to me. I have a good time with the national team, where I have teammates and friends as well, a lot of them, and I enjoy the small details that I know that I’ll miss when I’m not playing anymore.”

The Argentinian superstar won the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 and has in total 40 trophies for club and country to his name. Messi will represent Argentina at this summer’s Copa America, beginning his campaign for a second Copa America title on Thursday against Canada.

As far as his future retirement plans, Messi said he was “a bit scared” thinking about leaving the game.

“I don’t think I am [prepared to leave football] either,” Messi said. “All my life I’ve done this, I love playing ball and I enjoy training and the day-to-day of matches. I am a bit scared of it all ending, that’s always there.”

The Barcelona legend was previously rumored to join his hometown club, Newell's Old Boys, but appears content with ending his club career in the states for now. Messi has scored 13 goals in the MLS regular season and currently plays with former Barca teammates Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba on Inter Miami.

“It was a difficult move leaving Europe to come here,” continued Messi. “Being a world champion helped and to see things a different way as well. But I don’t think about it—I try to enjoy things. That’s why I enjoy everything a lot more because I’m aware that I have less and less time left.”

Kristen Wong


Kristen Wong is a staff writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. She has been a sports journalist since 2020. Before joining SI in November 2023, Wong covered four NFL teams as an associate editor with the FanSided NFL Network and worked as a staff writer for the brand’s flagship site. Outside of work, she has dreams of running her own sporty dive bar.