Lionel Messi will make a stunning move to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami CF after his departure from Paris Saint-Germain, the Argentine superstar announced Wednesday.
Messi made the announcement about his next club in an interview with Spanish publications Mundo Deportivo and Sport MLS later confirmed the proposed deal on social media.
The 2022 World Cup winner was linked with a return to former club Barcelona as well as a possible move to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, but ultimately decided to join co-owner David Beckham’s Inter Miami in MLS.
“I have made the decision that I am going to Miami. I still don’t have it agreed upon 100 percent and a few things are needed, but, well, we decided to continue my path there,” Messi said.
“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 and to enjoy the day-to-day more. Obviously, with the same responsibility and desire to play well and do things well as always. But in a calmer way.”
Sources confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle that terms include an option for part-ownership of Inter Miami, but it would not be subsidized by the league as it was for Beckham in 2007. When Beckham moved to the LA Galaxy, he was given the option to purchase an MLS team for a discounted price of $25 million.
ESPN also confirmed that a cut of revenue from new subscribers to Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass streaming service was part of negotiations. Any agreement involving Messi and Adidas would strictly be between the player and the company and wouldn’t directly involve MLS.
“We are pleased that Lionel Messi has stated that he intends to join Inter Miami and Major League Soccer this summer,” MLS said in a written statement. “Although work remains to finalize a formal agreement, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time to our League.”
After Messi and Inter Miami made their announcements, Barcelona wished the Argentina star “the best of luck in his new professional phase” and said an offer was presented before Messi made the decision to move to MLS.
“Jorge Messi, the player’s father and representative, informed Club President Joan Laporta of the player’s decision to join Inter Miami, despite having been presented with a proposal from Barça, in consideration of the desire of both FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi for him to once again wear blaugrana,” Barca said in a statement.