The Barcelona captain admitted in an interview released on Sunday that he wanted to live and play in the US in the future, leading to new speculation that he could spend two further seasons in Spain or elsewhere in Europe before moving to the States.
Messi bought a $5 million apartment last year in the Porsche building, in the Sunny Isles Beach area of Florida known for its large Russian population, and has already been courted by former Real Madrid rival David Beckham, who co-owns newly-founded Inter Miami.
“Messi wants to hold out at Barcelona and go to Miami in 2023, so his children would go to high school before entering university,” broadcaster Jose Antonio Ponseti told El Larguero.
“It is a neighborhood where many orthodox and Russian Jews live. In fact, the supermarkets in the area sell products from Russia.
“If you want all the details, the [apartment] price is not below 8 million euros [$9.7 million]. The building allows you to go up in your car to the apartment in a special elevator.”
Almost 10% of the Sunny Isles population is recorded as Russian, with a Reuters report in 2017 also finding that Russian investors had spent around $100 million on buildings commissioned by US president Donald Trump in the area.
Messi’s eldest child, Thiago, would be around middle school age if the family moved to Miami in three years, while his next youngest, Mateo, is three years younger, and third son Ciro was born in 2018.
Having tried to leave the club where he has spent his entire career last summer, the striker confessed that he was now “not sure” what he wanted to do during his chat with La Sexta, adding that a likely switch to Major League Soccer would be temporary.
“I’m going to wait until the season ends,” he said, insisting that he was now happier and exclusively focused on succeeding with Barca in the short-term.
“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.”
Beckham, who will reportedly play a greater role in incoming transfers at Inter from 2021, said that Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were targets for the fledgling club.
“We’ve been contacted by a lot of different players about possibly coming to join the team,” the former Manchester United and England midfielder told The Tonight Show earlier this year.
“As with any owner, you really want the best players and if we have the opportunity to bring in players like Cristiano or Leo, I have such admiration for them as athletes. If we could bring those players in, then great.”
Beckham added that Messi’s inclusion would not be a formality. “One of the things I learned from [former United manager] Alex Ferguson … he turned around to me and said, ‘whoever you bring in, they have to be the right fit for the club.’
“It’s not about the biggest name or personality, it’s about who fits in best with the players.”