Lionel Messi could throw in the towel on his career in Europe and play out his days in MLS – but it would be a people-pleasing move if he returns to Barcelona next season.
That is the verdict of Gerard Pique, Messi’s long-time former Barcelona team-mate who is as interested as anyone in the Argentina great’s next step.
Messi is approaching the end of his two-year contract at Paris Saint-Germain, having joined the French club when Barca were mired in a financial crisis and could not keep him on.
He will turn 36 in June, and his performances at the World Cup for Argentina, along with a number of fine club showings, have suggested he could keep going at a high level.
MLS club Inter Miami have also been big admirers of Messi and are seemingly ready with an offer to take him to the United States.
“Only Leo knows his future,” Pique told Spanish broadcaster RAC 1. “He won the World Cup, which was the great dream he had and the title he had left to win. He has won it and now no one can doubt he is the best in history.
“What he decides will be about where he can find happiness and if he wants to continue competing at the highest level.”
Defender Pique retired in November, having begun his first-team career at Barca in 2008 and become a lynchpin of the team.
Messi was often the match-winner, helping the likes of Pique to become serial trophy gatherers.
“If he continues to be motivated, the most normal thing is for him to stay in Europe, and here Barca can enter into his plans,” Pique said.
“If he raises his arms and says he’s had enough, maybe he’ll go to MLS. If he came back [to Barcelona], it would be an incredible thing for all the fans.”