"I have a deep relationship with Barcelona" - Lionel Messi recalls 'strange feeling' when Culers chanted his name at Camp Nou

Lionel Messi reacts to Barcelona fans chanting his name.
Lionel Messi reacts to Barcelona fans chanting his name.

Lionel Messi has expressed his pride in seeing Barcelona fans chant his name at the Camp Nou throughout the last season.

Barca fans would chant the iconic forward's name in the tenth minute of games as speculation grew over a potential return. The 35-year-old's contract with Paris Saint-Germain was expiring at the end of June, and the Blaugrana were keen on a reunion.

However, Messi opted to join MLS side Inter Miami instead, as he had doubts about Barcelona's financial stability. He was asked about the Camp Nou faithful's chants while on international duty with Argentina this week. He responded (via Albiceleste Talk):

“Even though I wasn't there, they were chanting my name. … It was a little strange, but it made great sense. I spent many years there and so did my kids. I have a deep relationship with Barcelona.”

Lionel Messi is adored by Barca fans after spending 17 illustrious seasons in Catalonia. He scored 672 goals and provided 303 assists in 778 games across competitions and won four Champions League, 10 La Liga and seven Copa del Rey trophies.

The Argentine great is set to be recognised for his extraordinary career with the La Liga giants. Barca released a statement on their website in reaction to Messi's move to Inter Miami:

"Both Joan Laporta and Jorge Messi (his father) also agreed to work together to promote a proper tribute from Barca fans to honour a footballer who has been, is and always will be beloved by Barca."

Messi is heading to the MLS where he becomes the biggest name in league history. He joins an Inter Miami side languishing at bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference.

The Herons will hope that Messi can transform the side and replicate the form he achieved at the Camp Nou. The iconic forward also leaves PSG as a two-time Ligue 1 champion, scoring 32 goals and contributing 35 assists in 75 games.

Lionel Messi spoke glowingly of his love for Barcelona in 2019

Lionel Messi bid farewell to the Blaugrana in 2021.
Lionel Messi bid farewell to the Blaugrana in 2021.

Lionel Messi made a teary departure from Barcelona in 2021 when the La Liga giants were unable to offer a new contract for their former captain. He wanted to stay with the Blaugrana, but their financial complications meant he was forced out the door.

The Argentine icon expressed his love for Barca in 2019, saying that he never wanted to leave the Camp Nou (via Barca Worldwide):

“Barcelona is my life; they have brought me to where I am today. I could not leave. I don’t want to leave. My heart stays with Barcelona.”

Lionel Messi left the Blaugrana and headed to PSG, where he struggled with adaption issues. He also had a frosty relationship with Parisians fans, a stark contrast to the admiration he received during his 17 seasons in Catalonia.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett