Lionel Messi has every Major League Soccer executive crunching the numbers right now.
In a wide-ranging interview with Jordi Evole of Spanish television channel La Sexta on Sunday evening, the Barcelona superstar opened up about his future and admitted he has always envisioned playing outside of La Liga, specifically mentioning the United States as a potential destination.
"I've always had the dream of playing in another league, in the United States," the 33-year-old said, as translated by The Athletic. "Maybe it will happen, it doesn't have to be right away. Today I am just focused on these next six months."
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner looked destined to depart the Camp Nou this past summer when he submitted an official transfer request but ultimately decided to remain at the club after a messy saga that threatened to be dragged into the courts.
"A moment came when I thought I had completed the cycle, I needed a change, my head needed to get away from all the issues at the club," Messi said.
"(Former president Josep Maria Bartomeu) at the time did not want me to leave, leaked stuff to the press to make me look like the bad guy. But I was doing what I felt in that moment. I knew that if I went to court I would have won, many lawyers confirmed it. But I didn't want to leave Barca that way."
With his contract set to expire in 2021, Messi's free to negotiate a move to a new team once the January transfer window opens. But he said he plans to wait until the current season is over before deciding on his future.
"I'm just thinking about ending (the) season well, winning trophies, not getting involved in anything else," he said. "The (presidential) elections have to happen, and then we will see. Hopefully, we can end the year well, win a trophy or two, and then in June we will see."
Messi added that Barcelona are in a "very, very bad" situation and that the club's current financial malaise will make it supremely difficult to "get back to where we were."
Barca haven't reached the Champions League final since 2015 - when they last won the tournament - and their early struggles this season have them sitting only fifth in La Liga.