Messi, Inter Miami, MLS deal: Debut, contract, salary, more
Messi is ready to join MLS but the decision looks a seismic one. Here's what we know about his Inter Miami contract, his debut, the David Beckham connection, and lot more.
Lionel Messi, one of the greatest soccer players of all time, has made a groundbreaking decision to join Major League Soccer (MLS) and play for Inter Miami CF after his tenure at Paris Saint-Germain. This move marks a significant milestone for the top U.S. soccer league and showcases a strong ambition. Messi, a seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, will reportedly play in MLS until 2026, coinciding with the joint hosting of the World Cup by the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Joining a struggling team, Inter Miami CF, Messi aims to bring his unparalleled talent and experience to revitalize the club's performance. With a remarkable career that includes winning the World Cup with Argentina in 2022 and achieving over 800 goals and 300 assists, Messi's presence in MLS adds intrigue and star power to the league.
In his statement about the move, Messi expressed his desire to explore a different football experience in the United States after being unable to return to Barcelona following the World Cup victory. At 35 years old and coming off a strong season with PSG, Messi is eager to continue his successful career, aiming to add more accolades and accomplishments to his impressive resume, which includes numerous LaLiga and Champions League titles with Barcelona. The details of Messi's contract are still being worked out, considering the strict salary cap and roster regulations in MLS. The reported deal could be valued between $125 million and $150 million over 2½ years, with an option for 2026.
It is expected to include salary, bonuses, and equity in the team. Apple and Adidas, as major MLS partners, are offering profit-sharing agreements on merchandising and MLS Season Pass subscriptions. Messi's decision to join MLS comes after years of the league pursuing him. The announcement represents the culmination of efforts to attract the biggest star to the league. MLS Commissioner Don Garber has long aimed to establish MLS as one of the top leagues in the world by 2022, coinciding with the North American three-country bid for the 2026 World Cup.
With Messi potentially under contract during that event, it further boosts the MLS project. Inter Miami CF currently struggles in the MLS standings, sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points from 16 games. However, with 12 matches remaining in the regular season, they are still within reach of qualifying for the playoffs. Messi's arrival brings hope for the team's turnaround and offers a much-needed boost in performance.
David Beckham, Inter Miami CF's co-owner and former MLS star player, played a significant role in bringing Messi to the league. Despite never having played together, Beckham and Messi share connections through various sponsorships and their involvement in the sport. Beckham's influence and vision for the MLS franchise have been instrumental in securing Messi's arrival. The news of Messi's decision has created a frenzy among soccer fans, leading to a surge in ticket sales for Inter Miami CF's upcoming games. Ticket prices for Messi's reported debut on July 21 against Cruz Azul skyrocketed, and other matches involving Inter Miami CF also experienced significant increases.
U.S. soccer enthusiasts are excited about the opportunity to witness Messi's presence in MLS, even if he might not play in every game. As for Messi's prospects of winning a trophy in his first MLS season, it remains a possibility. The MLS playoff system allows for a team to make a comeback with a series of positive results, which could propel Inter Miami CF from their current last-place position into the postseason. Additionally, the club is preparing for the U.S. Open Cup semifinals against FC Cincinnati, presenting another opportunity for Messi to contend for a trophy in his debut season. Overall, Lionel Messi's decision to join MLS and play for Inter Miami CF has sent shockwaves through the soccer world, marking a significant milestone for U.S. soccer and igniting excitement among fans. His arrival promises to elevate the league's profile and provide a new chapter in Messi's illustrious career.
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