Lionel Messi has opened up on his difficulty adjusting to playing with Paris Saint-Germain ahead of his move to Inter Miami.
The World Cup winner confirmed his decision to join the MLS club earlier this month after two tumultuous seasons with the French club.
The Argentine superstar moved to PSG in 2021 after 21 years with his boyhood club Barcelona.
He won two league titles during his time in the French capital, scoring 21 goals and registering 20 assists in all competitions over the past season, but he struggled to acclimatize to playing in France initially .
Messi’s stint with PSG came to an end as his contract with the French champions was due to expire on June 30 and following his exit the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has now admitted the move was tougher than expected.
Lionel Messi opens up about his difficulty adjusting to life with Paris Saint-Germain
The Argentine star moved to PSG in 2021 after 21 years with boyhood club Barcelona
“The truth is that it was a very difficult adaptation, much more than I expected,” Messi told beIN, via CNN.
“Despite having people I knew in the locker room and having a relationship with them, it was difficult to adapt to the new change, arriving late and not having a pre-season.
“Well, adjusting to the new club, a new way of playing, my new teammates, the city at the start was very difficult for me and my whole family.
His relationship with the club and its supporters became fruitful towards the end of his spell after he failed to achieve Champions League success and was suspended for an unauthorized trip.
Messi has been suspended by PSG for two weeks after making the trip to Saudi Arabia in May without the club’s permission.
The World Cup winner had pre-arranged the visit for one of his business engagements as a tourism ambassador there.
Days later, fans gathered outside the club’s headquarters to chant the resignation of the PSG board, as they also called on Messi to leave the club, with the Argentine also receiving boos from supporters during the last matches.
And with his contract with PSG expiring on June 30, his stint with the club and its fans came to an acrimonious end.
The World Cup winner failed to deliver Champions League success to the French club
Messi was suspended by the club after making an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia in May
“I think from the start it was something very nice, like the reception, which I repeated several times,” Messi added.
“Then people started treating me differently, part of the Paris public. I think the vast majority continue to see me and treat me as at the start, but there has been a disconnect with a large part of the Parisian supporters, which was obviously not my intention, far from it.
‘It happened like that as it had already happened with [teammates Kylian] Mbappé and Neymar too. And I know it’s their way of acting but alas. I remain with all those who respect me, as I have always respected everyone since my arrival and this is only an anecdote.
After 21 years at the Spanish club winning 32 major titles, Messi joined PSG in 2021 on a marquee deal.
Linked with former Barca team-mate Neymar, Messi netted 32 goals in 75 games in all competitions for the Parisians, while winning Ligue 1 twice during his two years at the club.
The 36-year-old had been ’emotionally destroyed’ by his departure from the LaLiga club, after it emerged the club could no longer afford to pay his salary, amid the financial turmoil, which despite winning the Liga this season, is still far from resolved.
His relationship with the club and its supporters became fruitful towards the end of his tenure
Messi (left) will now join the MLS team which is owned by David Beckham (middle)
The World Cup winner had been heavily linked with a fairytale return to his former side Barcelona but, amid the La Liga giants’ financial struggles, Messi opted to join Inter Miami instead.
Messi was also reportedly handed a whopping $2.5 billion deal, which could have seen him join Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal.
But Mail Sport understands that Messi, who has won four Champions League titles with the Blaugrana and scored 672 goals in 778 games for the club, will be offered a lucrative contract with the MLS club which could include new deals with adidas and Apple.
ESPN also reports that his deal with the US side includes an option that could see him become co-owner of the football club and a slice of Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass subscription revenue.