In the event that Inter Miami do not qualify for the Eastern Conference playoffs, Lionel Messi may make a stunning return to Barcelona in January.

The Inter Miami team with Lionel Messi and the one without him have been polar opposites since the Argentine World Cup champion moved to Florida. Miami have been unbeatable with Messi in the lineup.

Yet, without him, they have been a very different squad.

Since Messi has been out for a few weeks, Miami has resorted to their old methods on the field. Despite spending much of the season in last place, the squad haven’t been terrible when the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner isn’t playing.

The match outcomes are different, however. This has severely weakened their slim playoff dreams.

Miami’s playoff chances almost impossible

Inter Miami may have won the Leagues Cup, but they are dead last in the Eastern Conference of the Major League Soccer rankings with just a few weeks remaining in the regular season. The team coached by Gerardo Martino now has 33 points with three games left.

They might potentially finish in the top nine and make the playoffs as a wild-card team. Unfortunately for the former Barcelona captain, Inter Miami’s prospects of making a late run in the playoffs are slim.

Thus, he likely will be without club action until the 2024 Major League Soccer season begins in March.

Barcelona waiting around corner

It could potentially call Messi’s status in the United States into doubt. The 36-year-old superstar is obligated to Inter Miami until the last bell rings in the calendar year 2025. However, rumors have already begun to circulate about him perhaps leaving the Herons in a hurry.

This would see him follow in the footsteps of David Beckham and Thierry Henry who had stints in Europe whilst playing in the MLS.

According to the Spanish news site Sport, the Argentine may return to Barcelona on loan in the new year to have a befitting farewell where he spent two decades of his career.

The report claims that the Blaugrana are keeping tabs on the MLS playoff scenario with an eye toward luring their legend back to the club this winter.

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