What Will Inter Miami Do With Lionel Messi?

Now that the Herons are squarely out of the playoffs, rumors are starting to fly on what the team might do with its latest signing… Lionel Messi.
Inter Miami's Lionel Messi has become the focus of rumors as to what he will do in the offseason now that the Herons are out of playoff contention.
Inter Miami's Lionel Messi has become the focus of rumors as to what he will do in the offseason now that the Herons are out of playoff contention. / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Latest Inter Miami/Messi Rumor Brings Up Familiar Face

The most recent rumor related to what Messi might do in the off-season involves a face familiar to the Messi sweepstakes.

Saudi Arabia.

In its quest to be relevant on the international soccer stage, Sky Sports reported one of the four teams controlled by the Saudi investment fund may make a push to bring Messi to the Middle East in a loan deal.

The idea here is pretty obvious… reignite the “rivalry” between Messi and Al Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

It would also add to the relevancy argument for the Saudi Pro League.

But we have to keep in mind the fact that Messi originally turned down a long-term move to Saudi Arabia to come to South Florida.

So, what would possess Messi to reverse course and spend the next four to five months in the Middle East when he turned them down from the start?

It wouldn’t be the money because that would have lured him there to begin with.

Ultimately, he would have to overcome the reasons why he elected not to go in the first place in order to even make this move plausible.

The problem with any potential move is the risk of added injury. Messi is no spring chicken (he’s 36 years old) and we’ve already seen how prior injuries can creep up and take their toll.

Does it make sense to not take the time off, spend it with family and come back to Inter Miami fresh for the 2024 season?

To me, not really.

He doesn’t need the money, he does, however, need the rest. Plus, he can continue to focus on pushing Argentina toward World Cup qualifying.

Lionel Messi, Leandro Paredes
It makes far more sense for Inter Miami's Lionel Messi (right) to focus on international play and not try to play abroad during the offseason. / Leonardo Fernandez/GettyImages

Remember that there are two more international breaks this season — one coming up in October and another starting in the middle of November.

Toss in a full slate of matches either in Spain or Saudi Arabia and there is a big risk of either a new injury or aggravating the one he already has.

The smart move here is to enjoy the break, continue to recuperate and be ready for a fresh push toward the MLS Cup and Concacaf Champions Cup in 2024 — the latter of which Inter Miami has already qualified for by way of winning the 2023 Leagues Cup.

There’s also the added possibility that Inter Miami will participate in the Copa Libertadores in 2024.

In the end, it makes more sense for Messi to stay off the pitch after the season concludes than it does to push harder for even more matches abroad.

But, what do I know?