Cristiano Ronaldo is a warning to Lionel Messi with Barcelona return potentially on

Lionel Messi Inter Miami

Lionel Messi could leave Inter Miami for Barcelona in the New Year

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 08/10/2023

- 14:48

The Inter Miami star could leave MLS on loan in the New Year

After Inter Miami failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs, talk of Lionel Messi returning to Barcelona has started to gather momentum.

The Argentina international only moved to America back in the summer, shortly after his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired.

However, after Miami lost 1-0 to Cincinnati on Saturday night, their season is now all but over.

That means Messi would, potentially, be able to leave David Beckham's side on a temporary basis for a European side when the transfer window reopens in January.

Lionel Messi MLS

Lionel Messi's season is all but over after Inter Miami failed to qualify for MLS playoffs


It is not something unusual.

Beckham himself left America twice on loan, joining Serie A giants AC Milan in 2009 and 2010 to work on his fitness.

Who can forget about Thierry Henry sealing a stunning return to Arsenal in January 2012 while contracted to the New York Red Bulls.

And MLS icon Landon Donovan had two loan periods at Everton despite being LA Galaxy through and through.

Barcelona had hoped to sign Messi earlier in the summer, when it became clear the 36-year-old would be leaving PSG behind.

However, in the end, their pursuit was unsuccessful - much to Xavi's frustrations.

Fast-forward to now and there seems to be a chance that Messi will return to the Nou Camp in the New Year.

It would enable Barcelona fans to finally give the club legend the farewell he deserves, having been denied the chance to do so in 2021.

That year, Barcelona were expecting Messi to stay.

With the club unable to make that happen due to financial reasons, however, the superstar had no choice but to pursue a new challenge elsewhere.

If Messi went back to Barcelona, it would see the veteran emulate long-term rival Cristiano Ronaldo by returning to one of his former clubs.

He would, however, be wise to look at the Portugal international before possibly turning it down.

Big things were expected when Manchester United gazumped Manchester City to re-sign Ronaldo back in 2021.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thought the Portugal international would be the ticket to United securing a first Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement a decade ago.

And, at the time, nobody expected the move to fail.

However, while Ronaldo produced the goods, his second spell at United failed to live up the hype.

His return saw the Red Devils regress alarmingly, with the club sacking Solskjaer just nine matches later.

Ralf Rangnick was a temporary replacement for the Norwegian but he thought Ronaldo was past his best.

He advised the United hierarchy to jettison the 38-year-old but the Glazers, happy with the money the forward raked in, were never going to let that happen.

Ronaldo would score 27 goals for United during his 18 months back at Old Trafford.


Cristiano Ronaldo Man Utd

Cristiano Ronaldo tarnished his legacy by returning to Man Utd for a second spell


Yet he left in November last year after giving a bombshell interview where he criticised the club, the Glazers and manager Erik ten Hag.

In the eyes of some fans, Ronaldo ruined his legacy by going back to United.

He expected it to be the same club he'd left when he quit for Real Madrid all the way back in 2009.

But Ronaldo departed having angered supporters by going against Ten Hag, while his decision to refuse to come on in a 2-0 win over Tottenham raised eyebrows as well.

Going back to your former club is always a risky move.

And Messi would be wise to remember that, with Barcelona still dreaming of seeing the superstar wearing their famous red and blue colours once again.

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