Seven times Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi is embarking on a new journey. This summer, the former Barcelona and PSG star will join Inter Miami CF in Major League Soccer as a free agent.
🚨🚨 BREAKING: Lionel Messi to Inter Miami, here we go! The decision has been made and it will be announced by Leo in the next hours #InterMiami
🇺🇸 Messi will play in MLS. No more chances for Barcelona/Al Hilal despite trying to make it happen.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 7, 2023
Many had speculated that the 2022 World Cup-winning captain was going to return to his former club, FC Barcelona, after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired. However, things took a dramatic turn after the 35-year-old announced his signing with the Miami-based club.
FC Barcelona has been left absolutely devastated by Messi’s decision. However, his fans in the USA are waiting to greet arguably the greatest soccer player with a warm welcome.
Lionel Messi import to change MLS forever
Before Messi, several high-profile players made their way to Major League Soccer as they were nearing the dawn of their careers. Inter Miami owner David Beckham himself played for the LA Galaxy, as did the recently retired Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
In addition to them, Premier League stars Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard played for D.C. United and New York City FC, respectively, and Italian legend Andrea Pirlo, as well as 2010 World Cup winning Spanish forward David Villa played for New York City FC.
Lionel Messi did it for the family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/VsAVCmEt94
— GOAL (@goal) June 8, 2023
However, with the inclusion of Lionel Messi in the MLS, things are surely going to take a new turn. The Argentine is beloved all over the world, and America is no exception. From a business perspective, Messi will do more than anyone to increase interest in domestic soccer in the United States.
Jorge Mas, managing owner of Inter Miami, has wanted to sign Messi almost since the day he and co-owners David Beckham and Jose Mas were given the team in 2018. They finally found their man, and he’s ready to take MLS to the stars.
Copa America 2024 to be hosted by USA giving Messi prep time in fresh settings
Despite being offered similar deals from Saudi Arabia, Lionel Messi opted to play in the United States. Many believe it is Messi’s plan to get used to the playing conditions in the USA in order to prepare for the upcoming Copa America 2024, which will be hosted by the USA.
The Argentine has seen massive success in recent times with his national team, more so than with FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. Messi won the 2021 Copa America, which was Argentina’s 15th Copa America title. Also, Messi captained and performed spectacularly in Argentina’s 2022 World Cup triumph, as he lifted the trophy for the first time in his career.
Lionel Messi didn't enjoy his time living in Paris 😮🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/DJUMDNRWPB
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 8, 2023
Many might raise their eyebrows, wondering why Lionel Messi joined a team that finished the season at the bottom of the table. To us, it is an indication that the 35-year-old isn’t pursuing glory at club level anymore; instead, he intends to get used to playing in the USA conditions, where he and his team will be playing to defend the title next year. A clever choice, indeed!