Where did messi transfer ? Inter Miami CF has confirmed the signing of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, ahead of unveiling the blockbuster new arrival to MLS at its DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday.
Messi, who officially joins Miami after leaving French champions Paris Saint-Germain following two seasons at the club, has signed a contract through the end of the 2025 MLS season.
Inter Miami managing owner Jorge Mas, who said it took three years of negotiations to bring the 36-year-old to the club, has stated that Messi will earn “between £50 million and $60m per year.”
“I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States,” Messi said. “This is a fantastic opportunity 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.”
Miami confirmed that Messi will first be available for selection in a July 21 Leagues Cup match against Mexican side Cruz Azul.
Saturday’s announcement follows an interview Messi gave to Spanish outlets June 17 when he stated his intention to move to the MLS club, rejecting a possible return to Barcelona as well as a huge financial offer to become the latest big name to head to Saudi Arabia.
Sources told ESPN that terms of the deal include an option for part-ownership of Inter Miami, but it would not be subsidized by the league as it was for David Beckham in 2007. When Beckham — now a co-owner of Inter Miami — 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.
Messi will occupy one of three designated player spots on Miami’s roster after the club created an opening by terminating the contract of Mexican midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro on Friday.
“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. I couldn’t be prouder that a player of Leo’s caliber is joining our club, but I am also delighted to welcome a good friend, an amazing person and his beautiful family to join our Inter Miami community.
“The next phase of our adventure starts here, and I can’t wait to see Leo take to the pitch.”
Messi is set to be joined in Miami by former Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba and will also be reunited with former Barcelona and Argentina coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who took over as manager in late June.
“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,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.
“We have no doubt that Lionel will show the world that MLS can be a League of Choice for the best players in the game. We look forward to seeing his debut for Inter Miami in our Leagues Cup tournament later this month.”
Messi has won every major honor available to him during a legendary career that puts him among the greatest players of all time. As well as being awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or as the world’s best player a record seven times, Messi has lifted 43 titles.
Thirty-five of those came with Barcelona: including 10 LaLiga titles, eight Spanish Supercopas, seven Copa del Reys and four Champions Leagues. He left the Catalan club in summer 2021 as its record scorer with 672 goals.
With Barcelona submerged in financial trouble, Messi was forced to depart and spent the past two seasons at PSG, where he won Ligue 1 titles both years.
Perhaps his greatest moment came just six months ago, when he led Argentina to its first World Cup title since the Diego Maradona-inspired team of 1986. Messi scored twice in the final as Argentina beat France in a penalty shootout following a dramatic contest in Qatar.
Messi will be faced with another major challenge when he begins life for his new club, with Miami sitting bottom of the Eastern Conference after going 10 MLS games without a win.
Messi set to join Inter Miami in MLS
According to a 2022 report by Alex Candal of Argentine outlet Futbol Total DirecTV, Messi had already agreed to terms of a contract with Inter Miami that would see the Argentine join in the summer of 2023. The report stated that as part of the contract, Messi will also acquire a 35 percent stake in the club, which according to Front Office Sports is worth over $200 million.
That reported deal harkens back to the one David Beckham signed in January of 2007 that brought the English superstar to the LA Galaxy. Beckham’s contract gave him the option to secure ownership in an MLS expansion club for the cut-rate fee of $25 million, an option which he then exercised in February of 2014. That eventually led Beckham to owning Inter Miami, which became active in 2020.
But only a few hours after the initial report of a deal with Inter Miami, there were immediate denials and questions about the credibility of the report. Messi’s camp was quick to issue a strong denial, calling the report “fake news”.
“According to sources close to Messi, the player has not defined his future nor does he have a short-term plan other than staying at PSG,” read an article in Spain’s Sport. It went on to state that Messi will run down his PSG contract and only then determine his next step.
Still, there is clear interest between these two parties, as reports continued to trickle out about the link between them over the past 12 months. That was further reinforced by an article from Pablo Maurer and Feliper Cardenas of The Athletic in early March which stated that some individuals close to Messi believe that a deal with the MLS club was close, although others dispute that claim.
The noise grew loud enough that Inter Miami coach Phil Neville was forced to address the rumours, and he did little to dismiss any speculation, instead admitting that the club was actively pursuing the Argentine superstar. “I’m not going to deny there isn’t truth in the speculation that we are interested in Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets,” Neville said prior to the 2023 MLS season starting in late February.
He went one further, allowing himself to dream about what it’d be like if Messi arrived. “Things will be different,” Neville said. “The trees might have to be bigger [around the training ground]. The security might have to be tighter. The walk the players have today over to that stadium, that might have to be different. The travel might be different. The hotels we stay in might have to be different. But really that might be what we’re aspiring to be like anyway. It’s exciting, but I think it’d be a massive challenge.”
Messi contract extension discussions with PSG
Prior to the Inter Miami news, the most concrete reports over Lionel Messi’s immediate club future came right after the end of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, indicating that Messi could re-sign with PSG for the foreseeable future.
On December 21, Fabrizio Romano reported that Messi has a “verbal agreement” with PSG to work out a contract extension beyond the summer of 2023.
There was a period of quiet on this front for a few weeks, and then Gaston Edul of TyC Sports in Argentina reported that Messi has agreed to an extension through the summer of 2024. He doesn’t give any further details, but the report suggests that Messi has essentially reconstructed his current deal to leave him in Paris through summer 2024. His current deal has an option to do the same, but his World Cup win likely gave him additional leverage to get better terms.
This had seemed the most likely option, as Messi has a seemingly favourable situation in the French capital, but he now looks ready to move on.
Messi possible return to Barcelona in 2023
While the reports of a move to Inter Miami may dash the hopes of other suitors, Barcelona will still harbor dreams of an emotional return for Messi to Catalonia. Messi’s name has been in the minds of Blaugrana fans ever since the summer of 2022 when club president Joan Laporta said that Messi’s time with Barcelona was “not over”.
Barcelona have struggled through financial turmoil over the past few years, unable to sign players without complicated and intricate bookkeeping which has forced the La Liga giants to get creative in the transfer market. Yet they still lead the La Liga table and triumphed over rivals Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana.
While any possible reunion would require a number of chips to fall correctly, including the financial freedom and a break from PSG, it’s still on the minds of fans who want to see Messi return to where it all began.
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