Football star Lionel Messi will join David Beckham’s club Inter Miami.
The 35-year-old World cup winner told Spanish media that he will join America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) after his contract expires with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of June.
Saudi club Al Hilal had reportedly offered $428.02 million (€400m) a year to Messi to join the club, however, he had also considered to join his former club Barcelona. On the other hand, the Inter Miami club offered him $54m (£43m) per year for four years.
Barcelona and Saudi teams were knocked out for Messi’s signature by Inter Miami CF. A proposal that would see Messi join MLS would reportedly entail Apple TV+, Adidas, and a future ownership share in a league franchise, according to the sports website The Athletic. According to Argentina news reports, Messi could make up to $100 million a season in Miami.
The Argentinian forward led his country to World Cup victory last December and has been pursued by Al Hilal to join Saudi league that has Cristiano Ronaldo and recently Karim Benzema. He has finally confirmed his new team and in an interview with Spanish publications Mundo Deportivo and Sport he told them that he will travel Florida.
One of the greatest footballers of all time, Messi said, “I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami. I still haven’t closed it 100%. I’m missing some things, but we decided to continue on the path.”
Phil Neville was fired as manager of Inter Miami this week. Inter Miami is co-owned by Beckham.
The Florida club has just five victories from 16 games, placing them last out of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference.
On July 21, when Inter Miami hosts Mexican team Cruz Azul in their Leagues Cup debut in Fort Lauderdale, Messi may play his first game for the US squad.
According to TickPick, an online ticket marketplace, the lowest price for a ticket to the game on Tuesday was merely $29, but on Wednesday, the price shot up to $329, an increase of 1,034%.
Messi, who will now play football outside Europe for the first time in his career, will be a second greatest player to leave European football after football’s biggest ever goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United.
Messi won the Ligue 1 in both of his seasons with PSG but was eliminated in the round of 16 of the Champions League. He finished this season with 16 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1 after scoring 32 goals in 75 appearances for the Parisians.
Messi’s two-year deal with Barcelona came to an end this summer, and both parties reached a separation agreement. In May, the striker was placed on suspension for two weeks after taking an unapproved trip to Saudi Arabia.