Lionel Messi has settled the final details of his contract with Major League Soccer (MLS). After years of planning and research, Inter Miami CF has thus acquired the services of a global icon.
Messi’s contract was made official on Saturday, just over five weeks after he said he would join Inter Miami CF.
The team will present him on Sunday evening at their Fort Lauderdale stadium, and the first home game of the Messi era could take place as early as Friday, in a League Cup duel against Cruz Azul.
An official press conference is scheduled for Monday, and the first training session with his new club is expected on Tuesday.
The club has already announced that Messi’s contract will run for two and a half seasons and he will be paid between $50-60m a year, worth a total of $125-150m in cash alone.
“BIENVENIDO 10,” the team posted on Twitter on Saturday.
“We are delighted that the greatest player in the world has chosen Inter Miami CF and Major League Soccer, and his decision is a testament to the momentum and energy that drives 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 world. »
This is, in many ways, an unusual marriage. Messi, who may still be the biggest soccer star in the world, signs with a team that started Saturday last in the MLS Eastern Conference standings.
The club are in only their fourth season, have never won a league title and play in a temporary stadium which will only be able to hold around 22,000 people once renovations, such as the addition of bleachers , will be completed.
It does not matter. The king of soccer now plays for Inter Miami CF.
Messi arrived in South Florida on Tuesday after a vacation, then began physical testing and paperwork on Wednesday, and the deal was finalized Saturday afternoon.
The seven-time winner of the Ballon d’Or – a trophy awarded each year to the best player in the world – moved to Miami after two years at Paris Saint-Germain.
” Work together “
“I am very excited to start this new stage of my career with Inter Miami and in the United States,” Messi said in a statement distributed by the club.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity and together we will continue to build this great project. The idea is to work together to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves, and I am very excited to start helping here in my new home. »
Everyone knew that Messi was going to leave PSG. The mystery was where he would go. Some believed Messi would eventually choose to play for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, following his longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo to a kingdom where some clubs are now financed by the sovereign wealth fund. A return to Barcelona, the historic club where he spent most of his career, was another possibility.
Ultimately, Miami won. An idea that co-owner David Beckham started publicly pitching in 2021 — two years before, of course, the team started thinking about how to make this happen — has now become a reality.
“After winning the World Cup and not being able to return to Barcelona, it was my turn to go to the United League to experience football in another way,” Messi said in June when he announced his decision.
One of the greatest goalscorers in history
Messi led Argentina to the world championship title last December. He scored more than 800 goals during his club and national career, making him one of the greatest scorers in soccer history.
He hit the target twice in last year’s World Cup final against France, a match that ended 3-3, before Argentina won 4 -2 on penalties.
Messi has also contributed to four of his teams’ Champions League triumphs and his 129 goals in the most prestigious of club competitions has only been surpassed by Ronaldo’s 140.
Messi has won 10 La Liga championships and two Ligue 1 titles, seven Copa del Rey and three Club World Cups, as well as a Copa América and an Olympic gold medal for Argentina.
Hopes “at the highest” for Miami
“Ten years ago, when I started my journey to build a new team in Miami, I said I dreamed of bringing the greatest players in the world to this amazing city,” Beckham said.
“Players who shared the ambition I had when I joined the LA Galaxy to help build the game of football in the United States and build a legacy for the next generation in the sport we love so much, he said. Today, that dream has come true. »
The dealership’s hopes are now officially at their highest. Inter Miami CF have never been a title contender. Messi could quickly be a game-changer for a side that have won just 34 percent of their matches in MLS.
“Lionel Messi is an incomparable talent,” said Chris Henderson, Sporting Director of Inter Miami CF. What he brings on and off the field will uplift everyone around him and we are delighted to welcome him to Inter Miami. »