Lionel Messi has been transferred to Major League Soccer team Inter Miami.
His contract is for two and a half seasons, with an option to extend for another year through the 2026 season.
On Saturday, the club tweeted a video of Messi wearing the number 10 shirt and confirmed his arrival after the deal was finally approved by MLS.
Messi will be officially unveiled to fans on Sunday (8:30 p.m. ET, 1:30 a.m. BST Monday) at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
His new club said he will be the first choice against LIGA MX side Cruz Azul in the League Cup opener on July 21.
Inside the Lionel Messi to Inter Miami deal – The Saudis, the equity deals and the secret journey of Beckham and Co
“I am very excited to start this next phase in my career at Inter Miami and in America,” Messi said.
“This is a fantastic opportunity and we will continue to build this beautiful project. The idea is to work together to achieve the goals we have set and I am very excited to start helping here in my new home.
Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham says he dreamed of bringing a player like Messi to Miami.
“Ten years ago, when I began my journey to build a new team in Miami, I said that I dreamed of bringing the world’s best players to this amazing city. When I joined the LA Galaxy, I wanted to help grow soccer in the U.S. and give it to the next generation that we love so much. “Players who shared the ambition I had when I joined LA Galaxy to create a legacy in the game,” Beckham said in quotes published on the club’s official website.
“Today that dream has come true. I couldn’t be more proud to have a player of Leo’s caliber join our club, but I’m excited to welcome a good friend, a wonderful person and his beautiful family to our Inter Miami community. The next phase of our adventure begins here and I can’t wait to see Leo take to the pitch.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said: “We are thrilled that the world’s greatest player has chosen Inter Miami CF and Major League Soccer, and his decision is a testament to the momentum and energy behind our league and our game in North America.
“We have no doubt that Lionel will show the world that MLS can be the league of choice for the best players in the game. We look forward to seeing him make his debut for Inter Miami in our Leagues Cup match later this month.”
Lionel Messi to Inter Miami: Key Questions Answered
The 36-year-old announced in early June that he had decided to move to MLS following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain, despite interest from former club Barcelona and Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal.
All parties have spent the last month negotiating a complex deal, which includes additions to the standard MLS player contract. Messi is expected to acquire a stake in Inter Miami when he finishes as a player, and Miami owner Jorge Mas told reporters he expects the total package to be in the $50-60 million per year range.
Messi, who has yet to start training, landed at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on July 11 after spending the past few weeks vacationing with his family in the Bahamas.
He will join former boss Tata Martino at the club following his appointment as head coach in June.
How Beckham’s transferable MLS contract paved the way for Messi
Messi to Miami — read more Athletic
With Messi coming to Miami, is Los Angeles still the MLS home for global stars?
Messi left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season after his two-year contract with the Ligue 1 side expired.
Barcelona, where Messi left to join PSG in the summer of 2021, have repeatedly expressed interest in re-signing the Argentina star and World Cup winner.
Messi also had an offer from Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, which would have cost the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner €400 million a year.
But still Athletic It was reported in October that Inter Miami were more confident in their bid to continue for several years.
His move to MLS is a major coup as the United States prepares to co-host the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico.
Lionel Messi joins MLS side Inter Miami
When will Messi play for Miami – what number will he wear?
The MLS transfer window opened on July 5, with Miami playing away on July 15, before playing in the League Cup on July 21 and July 25 in Liga MX, MLS’ new venture.
That July 21st against the Cruz Azul circled for Messi’s debut. Tickets for that game are sold out.
If Miami advances from that group stage, they will make more League Cup appearances.
Their next MLS home game is August 20, at home against Charlotte FC. They then play the New York Red Bulls on the road before welcoming Nashville SC to FT. Lauderdale on Aug. 30.
Messi’s No. 10 shirts for Barcelona and Argentina are iconic in soccer history, and so is his time with Paris Saint-Germain (even though he wore that number, it was odd that he wore No. 30 in his two seasons before as a youth with Barca).
Now, Messi is going to return to a classic: he is Miami’s No. 10, which the club deliberately kept unfilled all season in anticipation of his arrival.
Why did Messi’s contract take so long to expire?
Analysis by Paul Tenorio, Paul Marrer and Tom Bogart
Because of MLS’s single-agency structure, players sign contracts with the league, not individual teams.
But unlike normal MLS contracts, Messi’s contract was not a simple matter. For a legendary player and potentially league-changing signing, MLS and Inter Miami got creative with compensation to ensure he wasn’t lured to Saudi Arabia.
Messi’s deal includes an option to buy an equity stake in Inter Miami, and part of the deal will require him to negotiate with Apple about sharing revenue from new subscriptions to the MLS season pass service. A source briefed on the negotiations says the Apple deal will be based on revenue driven by new international subscribers.
There are also things like the structure of compensation, the tax implications of how the contract is drawn up, marketing and image rights. Those negotiations, Messi’s name and number. 10 goes down to the nitty-gritty, like which companies have the right to use it in different products.
Apple, Lionel Messi and the $2.5bn question: What’s next?
How much does Messi earn and who pays?
Messi’s contract is worth $50-60 million annually, although he also includes the value of his stake in the club, Inter Miami.
In addition, Messi will receive additional income through MLS partners.
He will receive a portion of the new MLS season pass subscriptions on Apple TV, as well as compensation deals from Adidas (his longtime sponsor and kit makers for MLS and all 29 clubs) and Fanatics.
Messi’s move to MLS was three years in the making – Jorge Mas
The Adidas and Apple portions of the deal are functionally separate from the base salary he makes as a player in MLS. The MLS Players Association will release salary details for all players this year as it did a few months ago. Messi’s numbers are eagerly awaited.
All parties see this agreement as a boon; Apple and MLS signed a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal this spring. Apple also released a four-part documentary chronicling Messi’s five World Cup appearances that will be streamed on Apple TV+.
Adidas, meanwhile, has partnered with MLS since the league’s inception in 1996. The two sides renewed their partnership earlier this year, signing a six-year, $830 million extension that runs through 2030. The German manufacturer supplies kits to all 29 MLS teams. Also designs the league’s official match ball and is the official boot sponsor of the league.
Messi has a long-standing relationship with adidas, which began in 2006. In 2017, he signed a lifetime footwear sponsorship deal with the company.
Should Lionel Messi get the ‘Jordan treatment’ from MLS referees?
Inter Miami – Low
Inter Miami was founded in 2018 and has been competing in MLS since 2020.
It is owned by brothers Jorge and Jose Moss, along with former England captain David Beckham, who played MLS soccer with the LA Galaxy between 2007 and 2012 after more than a decade at Manchester United and four years at Real Madrid.
Inter Miami currently play at the 18,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, but permission has been given to start construction on Miami Freedom Park, a $1 billion (£860m) stadium complex that will give Inter Miami a fantastic home.
The club endured a tumultuous period as it entered MLS during the COVID-19 pandemic and was later penalized for violating budget rules.
Their challenging spell continued this season, with the franchise bottom of the Eastern Conference standings when Phil Neville was fired.
(Photo: Inter Miami FC)