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Messi Agrees Inter Miami Move - Breaks Barcelona Hearts

Last updated: 08 Jun 2023
James O'Connor 08 Jun 2023
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  • The Argentine captain left Paris Saint-Germain after two years in France
  • Messi had an offer from Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal
  • Barcelona hoped to bring Messi back but their hopes were dashed
Messi will play his football in Florida after agreeing a transfer to Inter Miami (Getty Images)

David Beckham Signs Lionel Messi

Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham has pulled off a major coup by signing arguably the greatest ever footballer in Lionel Messi. 

The 35 year old spent two seasons in the French capital at PSG but neither party wanted to renew the deal. The length of contract in the USA, FIFA World Cup hosts in 2026, is yet to be officially announced. 

Messi Contract in Miami

There are contrasting reports exactly how long Messi’s contract in Florida will run for. 

Some reports are saying it is a four-year contract while other sources have it as two years. Most figures have his annual salary at $54 million per season.

Was Messi a success at PSG?

When he left Barcelona in 2021 and moved to Paris, Lionel Messi was expected to take the club to a new level. However, his arrival did not end the wait for a UEFA Champions League crown.

Overall, he played 74 matches for the French giants, scoring 32 goals and assisting 35 strikes for teammates. He was booed by the supporters at times, most recently when he missed training to attend a photo shoot in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia was an option for Messi

The rumours of a Lionel Messi move to Saudi Arabia have been the rounds for well over a year. With the country’s hopes of hosting the 2030 FIFA World Cup, Messi was a big part of their charm offensive on that front. 

The offer from Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal would have reportedly paid Messi more than $400 million per year. The player himself said: “If it was about money, I'd have gone to Saudi.”

In his own words

Messi spoke to Spanish newspaper Diario Sport and Mundo Deportivo. He said: "I've taken the decision that I am going to Miami, to leave Europe."

He said: "It's true that I had offers from another European team but I didn't even think about it because in Europe, my idea was only to go to Barcelona.

“After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barca, it's time to go to MLS to live football in a different way and enjoy my day to day life more.

"Obviously with the same responsibility and desire to win, and to do things well, but with more calm."

Barcelona’s FFP woes

With the Catalan giants needing to slash their salary bill for the second summer in a row, a deal for Messi was always unlikely. Unless he had agreed to play for free a move was always a long-shot. 

In fact, Barcelona still need to make several sales in coming weeks with the likes of Franck Kessie and Ferran Torres tipped to be sold. 

Messi said: "I heard that they had to sell players or lower players' salaries and the truth is that I didn't want to go through that, nor take charge of obtaining something that had to do with all that."

The Argentine scored 672 goals for Barcelona and won 10 La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League crowns. 

Messi added on the failed Barcelona return: "We never even got to talk about the contract. A proposal was passed over, but never a formal, written, signed proposal, because there was still nothing and we did not know if it was going to be possible or not.”

Barcelona Issue a Statement on Messi

The Catalan giants issued the following press release following news of Lionel Messi signing for Inter Miami:

On Monday, June 5, Jorge Messi, the player’s father and representative, informed Club President Joan Laporta of the player's decision to join Inter Miami, despite having been presented with a proposal from Barça, in consideration of the desire of both FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi for him to once again wear blaugrana.

President Laporta understood and respected Messi's decision to want to compete in a league with fewer demands, further away from the spotlight and the pressure he has been subject to in recent years.

Both Joan Laporta and Jorge Messi also agreed to work together to promote a proper tribute from Barça fans to honor a footballer who has been, is, and always will be beloved by Barça.

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