Lionel Messi has confirmed that he will play for Inter Miami in the MLS starting this summer. The Argentine legend revealed his choice in interviews with Sport and Mundo Deportivo, two Spanish sports newspapers.
Messi said he had decided to move to Miami after realizing that returning to Barcelona, his lifelong club, was not feasible. He said he did not want to repeat the situation he faced in 2021, when he had to leave Barca due to financial constraints imposed by La Liga.
“I wanted to go back to Barcelona and I was very excited about it, but after what I went through and how I left, I didn’t want to be in the same situation again: waiting to see what would happen and leaving my future in the hands of others,” Messi said.
Messi’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of June, and he announced that he would not renew it after spending two seasons with the French champions. He said he had received offers from other European clubs, but he did not consider them because he wanted to experience a different league and lifestyle in the United States.
“After winning the World Cup and not being able to return to Barcelona, it was my turn to go to the league of the United States to live football in another way,” Messi said.
Messi’s decision was hinted at by one of Inter Miami’s owners, Jorge Mas, who tweeted a picture of a Messi jersey shortly before the interviews were published. Inter Miami also confirmed the news on their official Twitter account. The Athletic reported on Tuesday that MLS had made a creative proposal to sign Messi, which involved Apple and Adidas offering him revenue-sharing deals from their streaming and footwear businesses respectively.
Messi’s arrival is a huge boost for MLS and Inter Miami, a club co-owned by David Beckham that has struggled on the field since its debut in 2020. Messi is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time, having won seven Ballon d’Or awards and scored over 800 goals in his career. He also led Argentina to their first World Cup title in December, defeating France in a thrilling final that ended 3-3 and was decided by penalty kicks.
Messi said he was looking forward to playing in Miami, where he has a home and often visits with his family. He also said he was excited about the possibility of reuniting with some of his former Barca teammates who might join him in South Florida. Messi will not be able to play for Inter Miami until after the summer transfer window opens on July 5th, but he could make his debut in the Concacaf Leagues Cup against Mexico’s Cruz Azul on July 21st.