Lionel Messi has decided to join Major League Soccer club Inter Miami after rejecting both a deal from ex-club Barcelona and a $1.5 billion Saudi deal.
After months of speculation about his future, Lionel Messi has a new club in the MLS. The Argentine confirmed that he has decided to leave European football to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami. When his current contract with Paris Saint Germain ends on June 30, he will become an official Inter Miami player.
Inter Miami is co-owned by former Manchester United and Real Madrid legend David Beckham. He played a huge part in luring Lionel Messi to the club.
🚨 BREAKING — Lionel Messi: “I’m gonna join Inter Miami. The decision is 100% confirmed”. pic.twitter.com/rm5R4TGFSM— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 7, 2023
The Argentine said in an interview held at his house by SPORT and Mundo Deportivo, “I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami. I still haven’t closed it 100 per cent. I’m missing some things but we decided to continue the path.”
Messi rejected the Saudi bid from Al Hilal worth around $1.5B. Apparently, there was no chance he will join the Saudi league.
Why did the deal with Barcelona collapse?
A return to his childhood club Barcelona was very much on the cards. Both the player and the club were actively working to make the deal possible. But for many reasons, the deal eventually collapsed.
The biggest reason is no doubt Barcelona’s financial situation. The club is still suffering from the effects of years of financial mismanagement. It was the reason Messi had to leave Barcelona in the first place in 2021.
Barcelona tried long and hard to convince La Liga of their plan to register Messi. They came up with a viability plan that was eventually accepted by La Liga after a protracted decision.
Messi: "Money, never been an issue with me. We didn't even discuss the contract with Barcelona! They sent me a proposal but was never an official, written and signed proposal" 🔵🔴 #FCB— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 7, 2023
"We never negotiated my salary. It wasn't about money otherwise I was going to join Saudi". pic.twitter.com/GXIPVyNIkY
But a viability plan is not an official guarantee. It is only implemented when everything in the plan, the sale of players, and other revenue-making happens. So there was no official guarantee that Messi could be provided that he will be signed.
Messi explained that he did want a Barcelona return, but said he didn’t want anyone from Barcelona to be sold or have to lower their salary because of him. He also realized that he would have to wait more for an official contract to come, which could take a few more months.
He also explained how he didn’t want a repeat of the 2021 exit. That year, everything pointed out that Messi would stay at the club. But at the last minute, everything collapsed and Messi had to leave the club where he made his name.
“I really wanted to come back. I was very excited to be able to return. But after having experienced what I experienced and the exit I had, I did not want to be in the same situation again, waiting to see what was going to happen.”
Messi also wanted to be out of the spotlight for the next years. He explained that he wanted more time to spend with his family and get out of the pressures and demands of a top European club.
Who will play alongside Lionel Messi in Inter Miami?
Now that he will play for Inter Miami, the club will have to revamp its squad by a lot. The current squad’s front line is as follows:
The 30 year old striker from Venezuela is arguably their best player. He has won the MLS Cup with Atlanta United and even won the MLS Golden Boot in 2018. He was also the MVP in that season. Josef is also the fastest player in MLS history to reach 100 goals in 125 apearances.
Nicolas is an Argentine and has only recently joined in January. He had a brief stint in Europe for Swedish club AIK Futbol and Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta.
The 22 year old joined from Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers in January permanently after a loan spell. He has been vital for the team, especially in the 2022 season.
The French player spent his career playing for many Ligue 1 clubs including Monaco, Lens, Toulouse, and Troyes. He left for Miami in January of 2022.
The American forward was the club’s first pick in the 2020 Major League Soccer SuperDraft. In three years, he has only five goals and two assists in 44 games.
American footballer who had played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the USL Championship on loan in 2022. He played a vital role in the club’s success during that time.
The Mexican midfielder is one of the club’s more important players. He was the second Designated Player in 2020 ahead of the club’s first season.
Currently, Miami is coached by interim manager Javier Morales. The previous manager was former Manchester United player Phil Neville, who was sacked after only 15 points gained in 15 games.
Inter Miami is also rumored to try to attract former teammates of Messi to the club. Both Sergio Busquets and Angel Di Maria can join the MLS side on free transfers.