Inter Miami have capped weeks of excited build-up around Lionel Messi’s imminent arrival at the MLS club by finally announcing his official signing to the franchise.
The World Cup winner’s switch to the east coast outfit has been analyzed extensively since it first became apparent he had chosen the U.S. over a big-money switch to the Saudi Pro League, which has come to the fore as a major rival for MLS for the top talent available on the transfer market.
Messi’s deal with Miami has been calculated at a worth of around $60 million per season to the seven-times Ballon d’Or winner, between salary from the club and highly-publicized deals with Apple TV and a reworked agreement with long-time partner Adidas. Messi stands to benefit handsomely from a revenue share of Apple’s streaming rights deal around the league’s matches.
“I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States,” Messi was quoted as saying by the club in their announcement.
“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.”
The project the 36-year-old refers to is one that started over 10 years ago with the league’s announcement that Miami was a place of significant interest for a new expansion franchise. Since then, famous names such as David Beckham have become involved, with the former England international now a co-owner of Miami along with American billionaire Jorge Mas.
Mas has been widely credited with having the ambition and vision to not only identify Messi as the man to crack open the global market for Miami, but also for laying the groundwork in pursuing the Argentine.
Sí, Muchachos pic.twitter.com/8E3f9hb9VU
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) July 15, 2023
In similar fashion to Beckham’s astute move when signing for LA Galaxy as a player in 2007 and having a clause inserted into his contract allowing him purchase rights of a franchise when he finished his playing career, it’s been widely speculated that Messi has a similar deal although the specific details remain as-yet unknown.
The impact of Messi’s arrival was already being felt long before this official announcement was made.
Back in June it was reported that Inter Miami ticket prices had shot up by almost 1000%, with tickets for this Friday’s Leagues Cup match against Mexican side Cruz Azul selling back then for well over $1000 on a face value of around the $120 mark. It has now been confirmed by Miami that this match will be the first for which Messi will be available for selection.
Messi has joined on a deal that commits him to the club through the 2025 season, and it’s likely that any future ownership clause he has depends on him seeing out that contract.
Some big names with MLS experience have weighed in on the Messi hype lately. Current D.C. United coach and former player Wayne Rooney offered the former PSG forward a heads up that the league is highly competitive and won’t be an easy ride, while one-time Los Angeles FC forward and a former rival from their Barça-Real Madrid days, Gareth Bale, said that Messi will find MLS “a lot more chilled” than his recent stint in Paris.
Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.