Lionel Messi thinks Inter Miami will be his ‘last club’ before retirement

Lionel Messi, 36, is in the middle of his second season with Inter Miami this summer

Inter Miami will likely be Lionel Messi’s final stop.

The Argentinian star and eight-time Ballon d’Or winner, who made the jump to Major League Soccer last year for the first time in his career, told ESPN this week that he thinks Inter Miami will be the last organization he plays for before he retires.

“I think so, yes. Right now I think it’s going to be my last club, yes,” Messi said, via ESPN.

Though there had been rumors, or hope, that Messi would return to either Europe or Argentina to end his career, his comments this week aren’t too surprising. Messi signed a record deal to join Major League Soccer that runs through the 2025 season. By that time, he’ll be 38 years old. Considering he's accomplished just about everything possible in the sport already, and he's been battling injuries repeatedly, he's well aware that he's nearing the end of his playing career.

It’s still unclear if Messi will play in the 2026 World Cup in North America. Messi, who led Argentina to the World Cup title in 2022, is going to play with Argentina at the Copa América this summer. Argentina will open group play against Canada on June 20. Whether he plays in 2026, Messi has said, will depend largely on his health.

Lionel Messi, 36, is in the middle of his second season with Inter Miami this summer
Lionel Messi, 36, is in the middle of his second season with Inter Miami this summer. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

"I've done this all of my life,” Messi said, via ESPN. “I love playing ball. I enjoy the practices and the day-to-day, the games. Yeah, there's a bit of fear that it's all ending. It's always there. It was a difficult step leaving Europe to come here [Miami].

"The fact we won the World Cup helped, it helped a lot, to see things in another way. But I try not to think about it. I try to enjoy it. I do that more now because I'm aware that there's not a lot of time left. So I have a good time with the club, being lucky having good teammates and friends at my side.

"I enjoy my time with the national team, where I also have good friends, too, and a lot. I enjoy those small details that I know I'll miss when I stop playing."

Messi, who spent two decades in Europe with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, has scored 12 goals for Inter Miami so far this season while leading them to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. He sparked a major turnaround for the franchise almost immediately last season, too, and led them to a Leagues Cup win in what was the club’s first major trophy.

Miami will take on the Philadelphia Union next on Saturday. The club will open the Leagues Cup on July 27 against Puebla.