Lionel Messi hallucinates the world of soccer again: He lands in the MLS in the United States, to play for Inter Miami.
After months — years, even — of conjecture, Messi's decision to join the Miami club was finally confirmed by the player himself on Wednesday. This is the club that has been led by David Beckham, another soccer icon, since its founding five years ago.
“I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami. I still don't have it 100% closed. I am missing some things but we decided to continue on the path, ”he said in an interview with the sports newspapers Mundo Deportivo and Sport.
In every way, it's a shocking announcement.
It was widely presumed that the Argentine star would sign with Al-Hilal, a club in Saudi Arabia, following in the footsteps of his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, in a nation where several of its clubs are financed by the government's sovereign wealth fund. He had also considered the possibility of returning to Barcelona, the team where he was formed and forged his legend.
“I had offers from other European teams but I didn't even evaluate them because my idea was to go to Barcelona and if the Barcelona thing didn't come out, analyzing it, then leaving European football and much more after winning the World Cup, which was what I was missing. to close my career on this side and experience the United States League in another way”, he added.
He did not accept the money. She didn't lean into the memories. He opted for Miami.
The seven-time winner of the Ballon d'Or for best footballer in the world changes continent after two years with Paris Saint-Germain. At 35, Messi has absolutely nothing to prove in football having completed his crowning achievement when he lifted the World Cup with Argentina in December.
"I expected to end differently, but hey, it was two years, which, in general, were difficult for me, but they are now behind us," he admitted about saying goodbye to PSG.
Messi has scored more than 800 goals in his career. He signed a double in the final of the last World Cup against France, in which the Albiceleste prevailed in a penalty shootout after drawing 3-3 after 120 minutes.
Now he arrives in MLS with a team adrift — mired in last place in the Eastern Conference, just days after he fired coach Phil Neville (Beckham's pick two years ago) and with Argentina's Javier Morales in charge interim.
Messi's decision to go to the United States means the biggest coup for American soccer.
Several sports luminaries — Pelé, Thierry Henry and Beckham himself — left for the United States in the twilight of their careers. But importing a player who still shines and just after becoming world champion is simply colossal.
It took months of negotiations with MLS, the owners of Inter Miami, Adidas and even Apple's involvement for Messi to accept Miami's offer.