“I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami,” said Lionel Messi on Wednesday night.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who is surely on course for number eight come next award season, will soon officially be an Inter Miami. By his own admission, there are still minor details to fully iron out, but Messi is certain that he will be playinf for the Florida club and not Barcelona.
As 90min reported earlier in the day, Messi agreed to join Inter Miami, a decision that the player himself then conveyed in a joint interview with Barcelona-based newspapers Mundo Deportivo and SPORT. His primary plan was to go back to Barcelona, the club he left in 2021, but wasn’t convinced it would be possible, nor was he prepared to wait around for someone else to tell him yes or no.
Saudi Arabia was another option, but Messi has chosen Miami and Major League Soccer.
As soon as the interview droppd, his decision was known worldwide.
Although the player himself was the first to announce it, Inter Miami followed up with a video.
Messi has already been described as the ‘biggest thing ever to happen in MLS’, bigger than even his new boss, David Beckham. There is, however, the small matter of his team being bottom of the Eastern Conference and needing a miracle to reach the playoffs.
Messi’s impending arrival has already sent ticket prices soaring. He won’t be eligible to play until the mid-season transfer window opens, but Miami’s first game after that is a 2023 Leagues Cup clash with Cruz Azul on home turf.
It’s all about engagement.
Other teams are even looking to cash in on Messi Mania.
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With Cristiano Ronaldo already in Saudi Arabia, the 2023/24 season will be the first since 2001/02 without either of the two megastars in European football.
Over 1,000 goal involvements in 853 games is a phenonemal record. Europe is saying goodbye to a legend.
Rather than winding down since turning 30, Messi has still been on fire and will surely put MLS defences to the sword on the regular.
Barcelona fans might have reason to be mad at their club, but not at Messi.