Lionel Messi Set to Join Inter Miami Following PSG Departure

According to a report by the BBC, Lionel Messi is poised to reject a lucrative contract offer from Saudi Arabia and make a move to Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami as a free agent. This comes after his departure from French champions Paris St Germain, where he played his final game over the weekend. Although there were speculations about a possible return to Barcelona, the Spanish club has faced financial constraints due to LaLiga’s fair play regulations.

If the deal with Inter Miami is finalized, the 35-year-old Argentine star will be stepping outside of Europe for the first time since he joined Barcelona’s academy at the tender age of 13. During his time at the club, Lionel Messi established himself as their all-time leading goal scorer, amassing an impressive 672 goals.

While the BBC report has not been confirmed by MLS, the league does have the authority to approve all player contracts. As of now, Inter Miami has not provided any official comments regarding this development.

Insiders familiar with the negotiations revealed that Lionel Messi desired to join a club where he could potentially have an ownership stake. Additionally, he sought to maximize his existing endorsement deal with Adidas, leveraging MLS’s association with Apple.

MLS currently earns a fixed fee of approximately $250 million per year from Apple until a certain threshold of subscriptions is reached. Beyond that point, the league will earn a share of the revenue generated by those subscriptions. Messi’s anticipated move to MLS is expected to significantly boost viewership on the Apple TV streaming platform, considering his status as the world’s most recognizable soccer player.

Recently, Lionel Messi led Argentina to victory in the World Cup held in Qatar, adding to his record-breaking collection of seven Ballon d’Or awards. In his two seasons with PSG, he clinched the Ligue 1 title and the French Super Cup in 2022.

Notably, Lionel Messi was also linked to a potential transfer to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal after receiving a formal offer. The Gulf nation has been actively pursuing high-profile players to bolster its league and successfully secured the services of Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al Nassr shortly after the World Cup. Moreover, French striker Karim Benzema recently signed with Al Ittihad.

Inter Miami, co-owned by former England captain David Beckham, stands as one of the prominent destinations for European stars transitioning to MLS. Beckham himself made the move to the United States and achieved MLS Cup triumphs on two occasions while playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Despite once being the crown jewel of European football, Lionel Messi finds himself released by two top-tier clubs within a span of two years, both instances occurring without any transfer fee.

At Barcelona, Lionel Messi had amassed numerous records and accolades, and leaving the club was not a decision he had desired. The city had become his home since his teenage years. However, the financial situation at Barcelona made it impossible for the club to retain his services.

In the case of his departure from PSG, Messi made the decision voluntarily. He believed that the French club lacked a clear future project, and the unrest among fans only expedited his exit.

The elation of winning Argentina’s first World Cup in 36 years was quickly overshadowed by the difficulties he faced in Paris. Even before he could bask in the glory of the World Cup, he found himself at the center of a storm when, for the first time in his illustrious career, the PSG fans turned against him due to the team’s underwhelming performances.

PSG, backed by Qatar Sports Investments, has enjoyed dominance in domestic competitions over the past decade, securing their ninth title in 11 seasons last month. However, the elusive Champions League title has remained beyond their reach, with yet another disappointing exit in the last 16 stage.

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