Lionel Messi announced on Wednesday that he would be joining Major League Soccer club Inter Miami as a free agent after departing French champions Paris Saint-Germain and rejecting a lucrative contract offer from Saudi Arabia.
After exiting French winners Paris St. Germain (PSG), Argentina legend Lionel Messi will play for American club Inter Miami. Messi received a more lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal, while he was unable to return to Barcelona due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions.
“I made the decision that I’m going to go to Miami. I still haven’t closed it 100 percent,” Messi told Mundo Deportivo and Sport newspapers. “I’m still missing a few things, but we decided to go ahead.”
Inter Miami also teased the player’s presence with a social media video containing rumors about the superstar’s next club. The clip concludes with the name Messi displayed in the club’s colors.
The PSG exit
Messi, who led Argentina to World Cup victory in Qatar in December and has a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, won Ligue 1 and the French Super Cup in 2022 during his two seasons with PSG. He scored 32 goals in 75 appearances for PSG, and he finished the Ligue 1 season with 16 goals and 16 assists. Messi’s two-year contract expires this summer, and both parties have agreed to part ways; the forward was suspended for two weeks in May for an unapproved trip to Saudi Arabia.
Why won’t Messi rejoin FC Barcelona?
As Messi’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires on 30 June, many believed the Football GOAT would return to Barcelona, but this is no longer the case. Messi stated that he “really wanted” a second tenure with FC Barcelona and that he was “very excited to be able to return” to Camp Nou.
“[I decided] to leave Europe,” Messi said. He added, “It’s true that I had offers from another European team but I didn’t even think about it because in Europe, my idea was only to go to Barcelona.
“After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barca, it’s time to go to MLS to live football in a different way and enjoy my day-to-day life more.
“Obviously with the same responsibility and desire to win, and to do things well, but with more calm.”
The ex-Barcelona forward desired a return to the Catalan club this summer, but the FFP restrictions that will be in place for the upcoming La Liga season prevented any ambitious plan to bring him back.
“I really wanted, I was very excited to be able to return [to Barcelona], but after having experienced what I experienced and the exit I had, I did not want to be in the same situation again – waiting to see what was going to happen.
Lionel Messi disclosed that he had some discussions with Barcelona manager Xavi regarding a possible return to the club, but had minimal communication with President Joan Laporta. The talks with Xavi centered on the potential benefits of Messi’s return to the team, but they did not progress to the point of negotiating contract details.
While there was an intention to bring Messi back, no formal proposal was presented, and money was not the decisive factor for him. Messi stated that if it had been solely about money, he would have considered other options.
The Spanish club was unable to retain Messi in 2021, which resulted in a tearful news conference as he departed the Nou Camp and signed with PSG after 21 years with Barcelona. Messi scored 672 goals for Barcelona and won 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, and seven Spanish Cups.
Messi to dive into new waters beyond Europe
Messi had to to choose between Inter Miami and Al-Hilal after a return to Barcelona failed to materialize. It was widely believed that he preferred a move to Saudi Arabia, where he would have joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in a financially incomparable agreement.
Messi was ultimately enticed to sign with Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami for a variety of reasons, including his lifestyle and an agreement with major brands that extends beyond soccer. The Miami agreement involves partnerships with brands such as Adidas and Apple. This is the first occasion Messi has ever played outside of Europe.
The MLS welcomed the upcoming arrival of Lionel Messi.
“The (goat) is coming,” MLS tweeted, with a goat animal emoji standing in for the phrase “greatest of all time. Millions of MLS fans all over the world welcome you, Leo.”
“We are pleased that Lionel Messi has stated that he intends to join Inter Miami and [MLS] this summer. Although work remains to finalise a formal agreement, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest players of all time to our league,” the MLS said in a statement.
He will play in a league that does not experience the same level of popularity or competitiveness as European soccer but has been home to many stars in recent years, including David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Lorenzo Insigne.
Impact on Inter Miami, MLS and American soccer
The impact of Lionel Messi’s entry into Major League Soccer (MLS) with Inter Miami is believed to be transformative. Like David Beckham in 2007, Messi’s participation will certainly strengthen MLS’s global and US credibility. This will boost attendance, merchandise sales, international awareness, and talent recruitment.
Given PSG’s success after Messi’s arrival, Inter Miami’s economic impact should be significant. Through sponsorship agreements, merchandise sales, and social media following, the club generated significant revenue. Inter Miami is poised to become a major US sports brand with Messi’s arrival.
Messi’s arrival coincides with MLS’s 10-year broadcast arrangement with Apple, which might generate subscription revenue. Messi’s presence at the 2026 World Cup in North America will likely increase sponsorship dollars, making him a bigger brand focus.
Although, Inter Miami confronts difficulties on the field due to violations of budgetary regulations and a lack of a solid supporting cast. Inter Miami will be a must-watch team with Messi’s arrival, but MLS history indicates that star power alone does not ensure success. Messi’s influence on Inter Miami’s performance on the field remains to be seen.
How much will Messi earn in Inter Miami?
Lionel Messi’s potential deal with Inter Miami is still pending official confirmation, but it is rumored to be a two or four-year contract. While the exact details of his wages remain unknown, it is expected that he will earn less than his current salary at PSG due to the MLS wage cap. The highest-paid player in the league, Xerdan Shaqiri, earns significantly less than Messi.
Inter Miami presents an attractive opportunity for Messi due to potential profit-sharing arrangements. David Beckham’s experience with acquiring the club at a discounted price and its subsequent increase in value to $600 million highlights the potential for financial gains. While Messi won’t have the same ownership deal, he will still benefit from profit-sharing agreements.
Messi’s contract will involve profit-sharing agreements with Apple TV+ and Adidas. His arrival in MLS is anticipated to drive more viewers to the Apple TV streaming platform, leveraging his global fame as the world’s most renowned soccer player. He will receive a portion of the revenue generated from new subscribers to the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and a share of the increased profit from Adidas as a result of his participation in the league. Furthermore, Messi’s desire for future ownership involvement in a club may be realized after his retirement.
|The GOAT supremacy:|
|The news of Lionel Messi’s imminent move to Inter Miami in the MLS caused a frenzy in the ticket market, with prices skyrocketing for the club’s matches. Ticket prices surged by over 1,000% on the secondary market within a few hours of the reports. The cheapest available tickets for Messi’s first matches with the club saw significant price increases, such as the Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul jumping from $29 to $459, and the home match against the New York Red Bulls rising from $30 to $512. Prices for other matches also experienced steep increases, with the cheapest ticket for the match against Los Angeles FC going from $81 to $599. The average ticket price for Inter Miami home games rose by 515%, reaching $935. The news generated high demand, as evidenced by thousands of people searching for Inter Miami tickets on platforms like StubHub and SeatGeek.|