Big news came out in the sports world on Tuesday, as soccer legend Lionel Messi announced he is leaving Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) FC to join co-owner David Beckham’s Inter Miami Football Club in the MLS (Major League Soccer). Messi made the announcement on Tuesday with Spanish publications Mundo Deportivo and Sport, and MLS Sport later confirming it on social media.
The 7-time Ballon d’Or winner and 2022 World Cup Champion was also rumored to be linked to joining Saudi Arabia club Al Hilal (who offered him a $1 billion contract reportedly) or even back to Barcelona.
This is what Messi had to say on his decision:
"After winning the World Cup and not being able to return to Barcelona, it was my turn to go to the league of the United States to live football in another way and to enjoy the day-to-day more. Obviously, with the same responsibility and desire to play well and do things well as always. But in a calmer way."
Most reports have claimed that Messi will get a 35% ownership stake with Inter Miami, while some have also said the deal could be similar to Beckham’s back in 2007 when he joined the L.A. Galaxy, which allowed him to own an expansion team for just $25 million at the time.
If not there’s still a possibility Messi can have a minority stake with Miami as a player or once he retires from the game. His contract is reportedly for two and a half years with a 12-month option for 2026, with his goal to close out his career after the 2026 World Cup in the United States.
The rich keep on getting richer, as the legendary soccer player is expected to make $125-150 million annually with MLS sponsors in Apple and Adidas working on deals that will be based on the amount of revenue he’ll generate for the league and will strictly be between Messi and the sponsors.
The MLS stated their excitement about arguably the greatest soccer player of all time joining their league:
"We are pleased that Lionel Messi has stated that he intends to join Inter Miami and Major League Soccer this summer, although work remains to finalize a formal agreement, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time to our League."
This is the biggest signing in the MLS’s 27-year history or since Beckham in 2007. It brings a massive jolt of excitement and appeal to the league that’s probably never been seen before because of the magnitude of his game and the status he holds historically.
The nine-time La Liga MVP is set to join a Miami team that was at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and just fired coach Phil Neville. Messi will bring a major boost to the league and franchise in what should be a riveting season for the MLS.