The Argentine forward, 36 years old Lionel Messi, has a two-and-a-half-season deal with MLS club Inter Miami CF an option for 2026.
The Argentine forward Lionell Messi said “I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States, This is a fantastic opportunity for me 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.”
Major League Soccer has confirmed that Lionel Messi is officially joining, and after years of searching and negotiating, Inter Miami has finally secured a world-renowned player.
After Messi said he would be moving to Inter Miami a little over five weeks ago, his deal became official on Saturday. The first home game of the Messi era could happen as early as Friday in a Leagues Cup encounter against Cruz Azul. The team will officially debut him on Sunday night at its stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
His first training session with his new club is likely to take place on Tuesday, and a formal news conference is scheduled for Monday. Messi’s contract, which will pay him between $50 million and $60 million yearly over two and a half years, was previously disclosed by the club. This puts the overall contract value between $125 million and $150 million in cash.
“BIENVENIDO 10,” the team posted Saturday on Twitter. Welcome, Lionel Messi.
In a statement, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, “We are overjoyed that the greatest player in the world chose Inter Miami CF and Major League Soccer, and his decision is a testament to the momentum and energy behind our League and our sport in North America.” “Lionel will demonstrate to the world that the MLS can be a League of Choice for the best players in the game,” the statement continued.
It is a marriage that is uncommon in many respects. Lionel Messi, who is still arguably the biggest name in sports, has agreed to join a team that was in last place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings as of Saturday. It’s a team that’s only in its fourth season, and they play in a temporary stadium that, with some hurried upgrades like adding more bleacher seats, will only hold roughly 22,000 spectators.Doesn’t matter. Soccer royalty now plays for Inter Miami.
Following his holiday, Messi landed in South Florida on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the paperwork and physical procedure began, and on Saturday afternoon, the deal was completed. After spending two years at Paris Saint-Germain, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner—the award presented annually to the world’s best player—is moving to Miami.
Lionel Messi stated in a statement, “I’m very happy to start this new chapter in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States. “This is an excellent chance, and together we will continue to develop this lovely project. The aim is to collaborate in order to accomplish the goals we establish, and I can’t wait to get started in my new home.”
The fact that Lionel Messi would be leaving PSG was generally known. Where he was heading was a mystery. several believed that Messi would eventually decide to sign with Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, joining his longstanding rival Cristiano Ronaldo there where several clubs are currently supported by the country’s sovereign wealth fund. Another option was to return to Barcelona, the legendary team where he played for the majority of his career.
Miami triumphed in the end. The organization apparently began thinking about how to pull this off two years before co-owner David Beckham publicly floated the concept in 2021, but it has now materialized.
Messi announced his decision to join the American Football League in June. “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,” Messi stated.
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Argentina won the World Cup under his leadership in December. One of the best goal scorers in the history of the game, Messi has scored more than 800 goals across his club and national team careers. In the World Cup final against France last year, which ended 3-3 but Argentina won 4-2 on penalties, he scored twice.
He has won the Champions League four times, and Ronaldo has 140 goals in the premier club competition, while he has 129. Messi has won ten La Liga championships, two Ligue 1 crowns, seven Copa del Reys, three Club World Cups, a Copa América, and an Olympic gold medal for Argentina. He has also won three Club World Cups.
“Ten years ago, when I started my journey to build a new team in Miami, I said that I dreamt of bringing the greatest players in the world to this amazing city,” Beckham said. “Players who shared the ambition I had when I joined LA Galaxy to help grow football in the USA and to build a legacy for the next generation in this sport that we love so much. Today that dream came true.”
When news spread that Messi might have been at the team’s facility that morning, a few hundred supporters showed up merely hoping for a sight, not even deterred by a late-morning thunderstorm. The club had an away game scheduled for Saturday against St. Louis. The pale blue of Argentina was worn by some, while Inter Miami wore pink-and-black. Some hoisted flags, and one carried a placard with the words “Messi” and “GOAT” to make the message obvious despite the sign being mostly in Spanish.
Earlier this week, Lionel Messi was spotted with his family at a Publix supermarket close to Fort Lauderdale; the grocery store chain is a sponsor of Inter Miami. The children had selected a few products for the cart, including Froot Loops, Cap’n Crunch, and Lucky Charms. By the time he arrived at the checkout line, the scene had gone viral.
It is now time for the soccer to begin. Messi will be unveiled by Inter Miami on Sunday night in a ceremony dubbed “The Unveil.” Tickets for the eagerly anticipated performance, where Shakira is reported to perform, are long gone.
Currently, expectations for the franchise are extremely high. Messi could quickly change everything for Inter Miami, a squad that has only won 34% of its MLS games, since they have never been title contenders.
Inter Miami sporting director Chris Henderson quotes. “Lionel Messi is an incomparable talent, What he brings on and off the field will elevate everyone around him and we’re excited to have him at Inter Miami.”