Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player of all time, will sign a mega-deal to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami of Major League Soccer where he could begin playing in the United States as early as July or August, he said in an interview with Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.
“I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami,” he told the outlet. “I still don’t have it 100% completed, but we decided to continue my journey there.”
The 35-year-old Argentinian superstar has turned down a major $400 million per year offer from Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal in the process, though the parameters of the deal with Inter Miami are unknown at this time.
According to The Athletic, though, Inter Miami offered a share of revenue generated by Apple’s MLS Season Pass and a share of Adidas’ profits from him joining the American club.
Messi’s current contract with French giants Paris Saint Germain is set to expire at the end of this month, meaning he could make the move to MLS right after — though some time for offseason rest will be needed.
It’s been another historic, long season for the playmaker, who won his first-ever World Cup with Argentina back in December. However, he was unable to lift PSG to an elusive Champions League title, though the club did come away with another Ligue 1 title.
Rumors swirled that he could return to Barcelona, the legendary Spanish club in which he rose to prominence and became the best player in the world, winning four Champions League titles and 10 La Liga crowns. But Barcelona never made him an offer.
“I had a lot of hope that I’d be able to come back,” Messi told Mundo Deportivo. “But after living what I lived through and the exit that I had, I didn’t want to come back to be in the same situation: To wait and see what was going to happen or leave my future in the hands of another person.”
Messi will have to do quite a bit of work upon his arrival at Inter Miami, which currently sits in last place in MLS’ Eastern Conference and recently fired manager Phil Neville.
Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Messi’s former manager with the Argentinan national team, has been linked to the vacancy — and that will only strengthen now after the groundbreaking move.