Lionel Messi, the Argentine football legend, has announced his decision to join the American Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami, after leaving Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). This move marks the first time Messi will be playing outside Europe in his professional career.
Despite winning the Ligue 1 title in both his seasons at PSG, Messi’s stint there was not viewed as a major success. The Argentine forward scored 32 goals in 75 games for the French club, with his final season tallying 16 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1. A premature exit from the Champions League in both years and a two-week suspension for an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia seem to have contributed to his decision to leave.
Messi’s choice to move to Miami was influenced by a variety of factors. The opportunity for collaboration with major brands such as Adidas and Apple, coupled with his existing property in Miami, appear to have swayed his decision.
Although Messi received a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal, he elected to move to the U.S. He also had a desire to return to Barcelona, but this was not feasible due to the Financial Fair Play (FFP) limitations on the Spanish club. Messi did not wish to repeat the experience of his 2021 departure from Barcelona, where financial issues led to his exit. He left Barcelona as the club’s record scorer, with 672 goals, 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, and seven Spanish Cups to his name.
In his statement, Messi expressed a desire to “live football in a different way and enjoy my day-to-day life more,” suggesting he sought less pressure and spotlight than he had experienced in Europe. Barcelona President Joan Laporta respected Messi’s decision to compete in a league with fewer demands.
Messi had discussions with his friend and Barcelona manager Xavi about a potential return to Barcelona. However, these talks never advanced to the stage of a formal contract proposal due to uncertainties about its feasibility. Messi’s decision signals a new phase of his career and life, as he leaves the rigors of European football to experience the game in a new environment.
Below are 5 reasons why Messi may have chosen Inter Miami as his next team.
New Challenge: After winning numerous titles and individual awards in Europe, Messi might be interested in a new challenge. By joining Inter Miami, he would have the opportunity to boost the profile of Major League Soccer (MLS) and test himself in a different environment.
Living in Miami: The lifestyle and climate of Miami can be appealing. Many soccer players from around the world have expressed interest in living in the United States after their European careers, and Miami, in particular, offers a great blend of culture, weather, and quality of life.
David Beckham’s Vision: Inter Miami CF is co-owned by David Beckham, a soccer icon who has a clear vision for the club. Beckham’s goal is to bring global stars to Inter Miami and make it a major force in MLS. Messi could be attracted by the idea of being a part of this ambitious project.
Post-Career Opportunities: Towards the end of his career, Messi might be looking towards the future. The US and specifically Miami has a huge market for soccer and offers many opportunities beyond just playing, such as coaching, managing, brand endorsements, and potentially even ownership stakes.
MLS as a Wind-Down League: Like several big names in soccer, including Zlatan Ibrahimović, Wayne Rooney, and Beckham himself, Messi might view MLS as a place to wind down his high-pressure European career while still playing at a competitive level.
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