MLS and Inter Miami have finally announced the official signing of soccer superstar Lionel Messi.

On June 7, ever since Guillem Balague first reported that Messi was joining MLS after two tumultuous years at PSG, The Messi Effect went into hyperdrive.

But since that memorable June 7th day, developments have dragged on. First, Messi played in a friendly in Beijing for the Argentine national team. Then he jetted to South America to appear in a friendly in Rosario against Newell’s Old Boys. Still not done, Messi then went on to play in the Juan Riquelme testimonial at La Bombonera.

And then he went on vacation to the Caribbean. He landed, finally, on US soil on July 11 to complete his medical.

Since then, there have been numerous delays in the official announcement that his contract has been signed. But finally, finally, MLS has completed the deal.

“I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States,” Lionel Messi said in a press release on Saturday. “This is a fantastic opportunity and together we will continue to build this beautiful project. The idea is to work together to achieve the objectives we set, and I’m very eager to start helping here in my new home.”

Details of Lionel Messi’s contract with Inter Miami

It’s worth noting that the 36-year-old had numerous options available to him for his future. Barcelona expressed their desire to bring him back, but the club’s economic circumstances made it unfeasible. Additionally, Saudi Arabia presented an offer exceeding $600 million, inviting him to join other prominent players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

As a result of his decision to play in MLS, Lionel Messi will have a very favorable effect on American sports. What is interesting is that the official announcement was delayed until today, despite the fact that he had already made the choice public on June 7.

According to a previous report by ESPN, Messi’s deal with Inter Miami spans over two and a half years. This would entail him playing for the remainder of the 2023 seasons and committing to 2024 and 2025, with an optional year for 2026, coinciding with the next World Cup.

The Argentine’s salary in MLS is the highest in league history, estimated to be between $50-60 million per year. Furthermore, it has been mentioned that the veteran would receive an ownership stake at Inter Miami once his playing career concludes.

According to reports, Messi will not get any direct subsidy from Major League Soccer, but he will still make money via percentage agreements with Apple, Adidas, and Fanatics.

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Messi signing with MLS and Miami… Why was there a delay?

According to BBC journalist Guillem Balague, he reports that the transfer of Messi to Inter Miami was a last minute decision after Messi realized he would not be able to join Barcelona.

Balague adds that it wasn’t until the end of May until Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas thought it was possible to sign Messi. As a result, none of the wording in the contracts had been written. The last minute decisions meant that the agreements had to be rushed, and lawyers needed time to review them before the signing could be finalized.

Since the Argentinean great is 36 years old, this may be the final major contract of his career.

Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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