The Lionel Messi sweepstakes appear to be over. The most coveted free agent in soccer history is set to sign with Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami, according to a report from Guillem Balague.
The 35-year-old superstar officially leaves PSG this month when his contract expires after two seasons with the French giants. After spending his entire career with Barcelona, he made the jump to France after his beloved team could no longer afford him under La Liga’s financial rules, seeing an end to an iconic era at the club with diminutive Argentina as the face, winning every prize imaginable more than once.
Messi, fresh off winning the World Cup with Argentina in December to likely cement his legacy as the greatest ever, would now gets his wish of playing in the United States with the possibility of former Barcelona teammates joining him in South Florida.
Landing Messi would be an all-time coup for the league, likely even more impactful than the one of Inter Miami club president David Beckham, who left Real Madrid to join the Los Angeles Galaxy back in 2007.
While the level of competition is far from that of Europe, Messi gets an opportunity in a growing league with an expected clause in his contract concerning potential future club ownership, similar to that of Beckham 15 years ago.
Messi reportedly purchased a home in the Miami area in 2021 and it’s a frequent vacation spot for he and his family. This also sets him up well to be stateside ahead of both the 2024 Copa America and 2026 World Cups, potentially playing with the Argentina national team in this competitions.
The Athletic reported on Tuesday that MLS had come up with a creative pitch to sign him which including Apple offering a share of revenue generated by new subscribers to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+, along with help from Adidas offering a profit-sharing agreement. MLS and Adidas have worked together since the league’s inception in 1996, and the German brand had worked with Messi since 2006, signing a lifetime footwear deal in 2017, per The Athletic.
CBS Sports will have more information as it becomes available.