The Lionel Messi sweepstakes have ended. The most sought-after free agent in football history has agreed to join Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami. The announcement puts an end to weeks of uncertainty regarding the Argentine star’s future. Messi made the announcement in an interview with Mundo Deportivo and Sport on Wednesday.
“I made the decision to go to Miami,” Messi explained. It is not completely finished. There are a few things remaining to complete, but we’ve decided to stay on this route. If Barcelona didn’t work out, I wanted to leave Europe, get away from the spotlight, and think about myself more.”
Before the interview, Inter Miami president Jorge Mas appeared to confirm the signing with a tweet of a Messi jersey, and then Inter Miami tweeted it out.
According to The Athletic, MLS came up with a novel proposal to sign him that included Apple offering a part of the money produced by new subscribers to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+, as well as assistance from Adidas offering a profit-sharing deal. MLS and Adidas have collaborated since the league’s establishment in 1996, while the German brand has been working with Messi since 2006, sealing a lifetime footwear agreement in 2017.
After the announcement, MLS formally confirmed that the deal is not quite done.
After two seasons with the French giants, the 35-year-old superstar’s contract with PSG will expire this month. He moved to France as his beloved Barcelona could no longer afford him due to La Liga’s financial regulations, bringing an end to a famous era at the club with tiny Argentina as the face, winning every prize imaginable multiple times.
Messi admitted that while he had offers to stay in Europe from other clubs, he never seriously considered them.
“I had offers from other European cubs but I didn’t even consider them because my idea was to go to Barcelona and if it didn’t work out, analyzing it, I’d leave European soccer, especially after winning the World Cup, which was what I was missing to close out my career on this side and experience the league in the United States, another way and enjoy the day-to-day but with the same responsibility of wanting to win and do the right thing, just with more tranquility.”