Lionel Messi is signing with Inter Miami. Renowned journalist Guillem Balague, reporting for BBC Sport, reports the Argentine star is signing with the Major League Soccer club for several reasons. He is joining MLS once his PSG contract expires at the end of June.
Both PSG and the player agreed to part ways after Messi’s high-profile move to France did not pan out as expected. PSG crashed out of the Champions League in the round of 16 both years with Messi. Most recently, the player’s travel to Saudi Arabia following that Champions League exit caused a stir within the PSG camp. He faced a suspension from the club due to his work with Visit Saudi.
That connection with the Saudi Arabian tourism board was one of the principal reasons the Saudi Pro League was a likely landing spot for Messi. Not only was the league offering far more in salary than what MLS can offer, but it is a popular moving spot for stars. Cristiano Ronaldo is already playing in the league, and Karim Benzema is making the move there this summer.
However, Balague notes that Miami posed some great offerings for Messi. The deal with Miami includes collaborations with major brands like Apple and Adidas. Apple is, of course, the sole streaming broadcaster of Major League Soccer across the world. Messi’s arrival can be an invaluable boost to the growth of MLS Season Pass. Adidas has sponsored Messi since 2006, and it is also the provider of all kits for MLS clubs.
Messi chooses Inter Miami over Barcelona and Saudi Arabia
According to Balague, Messi was open to rejoining Barcelona. The star left on fairly sour terms when the club could not afford to keep him on its books. Similarly, the Catalan club could not meet Financial Fair Play regulations to bring on a major contract like Messi’s.
On the other end of the spectrum, Saudi Arabia was offering Messi absurd amounts of money. One report claimed Messi and the Saudi Pro League reached a deal worth $650 million. In hindsight, that was not true. Regardless, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said any package for Messi would have pocketed the player close to $1 billion.
Despite the riches, Messi is signing with Inter Miami. He will likely join in the middle of this season, and that is welcome for the club. Miami is bottom of the eastern conference and recently sacked manager Phil Neville.
Over in Barcelona, the news hasn’t been well received. In a statement by the club, it reads, “President Laporta understood and respected Messi’s decision to want to compete in a league with fewer demands, further away from the spotlight and the pressure he has been subject to in recent years.“
PHOTO: IMAGO / PRiME Media Images
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