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Messi heads to Miami

Posted June. 09, 2023 08:26,   

Updated June. 09, 2023 08:26


Lionel Messi's choice has turned out to be the United States. In an interview with Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo on Thursday, he said he would join Inter Miami in the U.S. Major League Soccer. He commented that the transfer procedures are not yet completed, but both sides have agreed upon a deal. Founded in 2018, Inter Miami is co-owned by and under the leadership of President David Beckham, who played for the British national team. The MLS also welcomed Messi’s decision to join the club this summer, looking forward to rolling out the red carpet for one of the greatest players in the world.

Messi played for Barcelona following his professional debut in 2004 in the club. He signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint Germain that year when it broke up with him due to financial difficulties in August 2021. As he is about to become a free agent at the end of this season, several choices that he may make have been discussed - including Barcelona and Saudi Arabia.

Messi, who had given a farewell speech to Barcelona in a press conference with tearful eyes two years ago, told the newspaper that he would never go back to the situation where he was pushed by someone else to make a decision, adding that he wanted to decide his future rather than waiting for others’ conclusion. He thought that it would be the right time to go to the United States and enjoy football in a different way. Barcelona wished him good luck on its official website on Thursday.

Miami reportedly offered him 50 million euro in annual salary – only an eighth of the figure offered by Al Hilal SC. Sports newspaper The Athletic analyzed that Messi appeared to be more attracted to generous support from Apple, Adidas, and other MLS sponsors. For example, Apple has the right to air MLS matches on its OTT platform Apple TV+ for the next ten years starting this season. Messi will receive a portion of broadcasting profits. Added to this, Adidas, which pledged to give Messi a lifetime sponsorship in 2017, offered to share with him profits related to the MLS.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com