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Messi hints at future MLS switch from Barcelona

Lionel Messi won’t make a decision on his long-term future at Barcelona until the season is over, with the Argentine great raising the possibility of playing in the MLS.

“I am going to wait until the end of the season (to decide),” the 33-year-old Messi told private Spanish station La Sexta.

“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.”

Messi’s future has been a hot topic since he tried to leave Barcelona in August.

He put those plans on hold as the club insisted on enforcing his 700 million euros ($A1.1 billion) exit clause should another club want to snap him up.

“Now I am focused on winning titles instead of other things,” Messi said in the rare interview.

Messi’s commitment is a far cry from the summer when he looked certain to leave the club after falling out with the club hierarchy and branding Josep Maria Bartomeu’s presidency a “disaster”.

Messi said he would not publicly support any of the candidates who plan to run in club elections set for January 24.

Nor was he overly enthusiastic about the immediate prospects of the team, who sit fifth in La Liga.

“Let the best candidate win,” Messi said.

“Whoever does will find a very difficult situation, it is not going to be easy to turn this around.

“It is going to be difficult to bring in players. That requires a lot of money and there is no money.

“We need several important players to get back to fighting for titles.”

Barcelona reported losses of 97 million euros ($A155m) last season and sold off several veteran players, including Messi’s strike partner and good friend Luis Suarez.

The interview with Spanish journalist Jordi Evole was recorded recently and aired hours after Barcelona announced that Messi would miss Tuesday’s La Liga game against Eibar due to an unspecified ankle injury.

Read Also: Messi: Guardiola and Enrique my two most important coaches

Messi – who from January 1 can negotiate with other clubs as his contract with Barcelona is set to expire in June – is reportedly in Argentina taking a short winter break after the club gave their players time off ocer Christmas.

After Eibar, Barcelona’s next league match is at Huesca on January 3.

Messi has helped Barcelona win four Champions League and 10 Spanish league titles since his debut in 2004.

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