In a ground-breaking announcement, Lionel Messi, one of the greatest footballers of all time, is set to join Major League Soccer (MLS) and play for Inter Miami CF following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain. This move marks a significant moment for U.S. soccer’s top league and demonstrates its growing influence and ambition. As Messi, a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, joins the struggling Inter Miami CF, fans anticipate witnessing his exceptional skills and leadership on the field. Let’s delve into the details surrounding Messi’s transition to MLS and what it means for the sport.
Lionel Messi’s Contract and the MLS Deal
Securing Messi’s services in MLS required some creative deal-making due to the league’s salary cap restrictions. The Miami Herald reports that the deal is valued between $125 million and $150 million over 2½ years, with an option for 2026. It encompasses salary, bonuses, and equity in the team. Partnerships with Apple and Adidas further sweetened the agreement, with profit-sharing arrangements for merchandising and MLS Season Pass subscriptions. This landmark contract showcases MLS’s determination to attract top-tier talent and elevate its global standing, especially with the joint hosting of the 2026 World Cup on the horizon.
Messi’s Anticipated Debut and Impact
While the exact date is yet to be confirmed, reports suggest that Messi’s proposed debut for Inter Miami CF could be on July 21. Alternatively, a later date in July or August is also possible. The timing aligns with the Leagues Cup fixture between Inter Miami CF and Cruz Azul, presenting a significant opportunity for Messi to showcase his skills to an excited crowd. His arrival brings a ray of hope to the struggling Inter Miami CF, currently in last place in the MLS standings. With his exceptional talent, wealth of experience, and unmatched work ethic, Messi’s influence could help propel the team to success and secure a place in the playoffs.
David Beckham’s Role and Ownership
David Beckham, the former England star and iconic football figure, plays a pivotal role in Messi’s move to MLS. As a co-owner of Inter Miami CF, Beckham’s vision and dedication to the sport have been instrumental in shaping the team and attracting top talent. Despite never having played together, Beckham and Messi have maintained connections through their shared endorsements by Adidas and Beckham’s involvement with Qatar Sports Investments, the parent company of Paris Saint-Germain, where Messi previously played.
The announcement of Messi’s move has ignited excitement among football fans in the United States. Ticket sales for Inter Miami CF’s remaining matches have skyrocketed, with supporters eager to witness the legendary player in action. Prices for the highly anticipated debut against Cruz Azul reportedly surged by 1000%, reflecting the tremendous demand. While Messi’s presence alone cannot guarantee immediate success, the fervour surrounding his arrival has breathed new life into the team and generated a sense of optimism among fans.
Lionel Messi’s decision to join Major League Soccer and Inter Miami CF marks a milestone in the growth and development of U.S. soccer. His move to the league signifies MLS’s ambition to attract world-class talent and establish itself as a prominent global force in football. With Messi’s exceptional skills and unparalleled achievements, Inter Miami CF hopes to turn their season around and secure a playoff spot. As fans eagerly anticipate Messi’s debut, the buzz surrounding the Argentine superstar’s arrival has reignited enthusiasm for the sport in the United States and set the stage for an exciting new chapter in MLS history.