Lionel Messi Joins Inter Miami for the Twilight of His Career, Making MLS History

Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players in history, is set to embark on a new chapter in his illustrious career. The 36-year-old Argentine has officially joined Inter Miami of Major League Soccer (MLS), according to an announcement made by the club on Saturday. Messi’s contract will keep him with the team through the 2025 MLS season, and he will reportedly earn an annual compensation package ranging from $50 to 60 million, which includes a signing bonus and equity in the team.

Expressing his excitement, Messi said, “I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States. This is a fantastic opportunity, and together we will continue to build this beautiful project.” Just last month, Messi had revealed his intentions to play for Miami, and he was recently spotted shopping with his family in the Miami area.

The soccer prodigy, who made his name in Spain as a member of Barcelona, where he spent the majority of his career, has achieved unparalleled success, winning every major trophy and six Ballons d’Or as the best player in the world. In 2021, Messi made a move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), where he added another Ballon d’Or to his collection. While his time at PSG saw his team dominate the French league, they fell short of winning the prestigious Champions League.

Messi has also been an integral part of the Argentine national team, leading them to victory in the 2022 World Cup. His greatness as a player is widely acknowledged, with fans and historians placing him alongside names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Pelé, and Diego Maradona in terms of all-time greatness.

Messi’s signing completes a remarkable transformation for Inter Miami, which has been described as the “quiet Barcelona-fication” of the club. Notably, the team’s chief business officer and top operations and facilities executive are both former Barcelona employees. In addition, Inter Miami recently announced the signing of Messi’s former midfield teammate at Barcelona, Sergio Busquets, as their second marquee signing of the summer. Gerardo Martino, the Argentine coach who worked with Messi at Barcelona, was also hired as Inter Miami’s coach, emphasizing the club’s ambitions to compete rather than be merely a vacation destination.

This signing echoes the moment in 2007 when M.L.S. secured the services of David Beckham, one of the most famous soccer players in the world at the time. Beckham’s six-year stint with the Los Angeles Galaxy brought unprecedented exposure to the league and propelled its growth. With Lionel Messi now joining the ranks, Major League Soccer hopes to continue its quest to match the quality and visibility of the world’s top leagues, with Messi’s presence further elevating the league’s standing and appeal.

As Messi prepares to make his debut for Inter Miami in a Concacaf Leagues Cup game against Cruz Azul of Mexico on July 21, soccer fans in the United States eagerly await the arrival of this legendary player, hoping that his golden years will help propel MLS to new heights.