Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest soccer player of all time. He has won countless trophies and awards, including seven Ballon d’Ors and a World Cup. He has scored over 800 goals and broken numerous records. He has mesmerized fans and opponents alike with his sublime skills and creativity.
But after 21 years at Barcelona, where he became a legend and an icon, Messi decided to leave the club in 2021 due to financial and sporting reasons. He joined Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year deal, hoping to win the elusive Champions League trophy with the French giants.
However, after two seasons in Paris, Messi shocked the world by announcing his departure from PSG and his agreement to join Inter Miami in the MLS. The deal, which reportedly includes collaboration from brands like Adidas and Apple, will pay him $54 million per season for four years. It will also give him the opportunity to be part of the club’s ownership group.
Why did Messi choose Inter Miami over Barcelona and Al-Hilal? What are the implications of his move for him, for the club, and for the US soccer scene? Here are some possible answers.
A new challenge
Messi has achieved almost everything there is to achieve in European soccer. He has won 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League titles, six Copa del Rey titles, and three FIFA Club World Cups with Barcelona. He has also won a World Cup with Argentina in 2022, ending his long wait for an international trophy.
At 35 years old, Messi may have felt that he needed a new challenge and a fresh start. He may have been bored or frustrated by the lack of competition or excitement in Ligue 1, where PSG dominated with ease. He may have also realized that winning another Champions League with PSG was not as satisfying or meaningful as doing it with Barcelona.
By joining Inter Miami, Messi will face a completely different environment and culture. He will have to adapt to a new league, a new team, a new style of play, and a new fan base. He will have to prove himself all over again and show that he can still perform at the highest level despite his age. He will also have to deal with the pressure and expectations that come with being the biggest star in MLS history.
🚨🚨 BREAKING: Lionel Messi to Inter Miami, here we go! The decision has been made and it will be announced by Leo in the next hours #InterMiami
🇺🇸 Messi will play in MLS. No more chances for Barcelona/Al Hilal despite trying to make it happen.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 7, 2023
Messi may relish this challenge and see it as an opportunity to grow as a player and as a person. He may also enjoy the freedom and flexibility that Inter Miami can offer him, both on and off the pitch. He may be able to express himself more creatively and experiment more with his game. He may also be able to pursue his other interests and passions outside of soccer.
A personal preference
Messi has always had a strong connection with Miami. He owns a luxury condo in Sunny Isles Beach, where he often spends his vacations with his family. He loves the weather, the lifestyle, the culture, and the people of Miami. He has also played many games in Miami with Argentina and Barcelona, attracting huge crowds and generating massive revenue.
Messi may have chosen Inter Miami because he wanted to live in Miami full-time and enjoy its benefits. He may have wanted to be closer to his family and friends in Argentina, who can easily visit him or join him in Miami. He may have also wanted to raise his four children in a multicultural and diverse city that offers them many opportunities and experiences.
Messi’s wife, Antonella, reportedly played a key role in his decision to join Inter Miami. She may have preferred Miami over Barcelona or Saudi Arabia for personal or professional reasons. She may have also influenced Messi’s opinion on where he should play next.
Messi may have also been attracted by Inter Miami’s co-owner David Beckham, who is one of his idols and friends. Beckham may have convinced Messi to join his club by offering him a lucrative deal, a stake in the ownership group, and a vision for the future of Inter Miami and MLS. Beckham may have also promised Messi that he will build a competitive team around him and bring other stars to join him.
A strategic move
Messi may have also chosen Inter Miami because he saw it as a strategic move for his career and his legacy. He may have realized that by joining Inter Miami, he can have a huge impact on the US soccer scene and the global soccer market.
Messi can help Inter Miami become a successful and popular club in MLS and beyond. He can attract more fans, sponsors, media attention, and revenue to the club. He can also inspire and mentor the young players and staff at Inter Miami and share his knowledge and experience with them.
Messi can also help MLS grow and improve as a league. He can raise the level of competition and quality in MLS and challenge the other teams and players to step up their game. He can also increase the interest and awareness of MLS among the US and international audiences and bring more exposure and credibility to the league.
Messi can also help soccer in general in the US. He can inspire and influence the next generation of soccer players and fans in the US, especially among the Hispanic community. He can also contribute to the development and promotion of soccer in the US, especially at the grassroots level.
By doing all these things, Messi can enhance his reputation and legacy as one of the greatest soccer players and ambassadors of all time. He can also create new opportunities and possibilities for himself and others in the soccer world.
Messi’s move to Inter Miami is a historic and unprecedented event that will have major repercussions for him, for the club, for MLS, and for US soccer. It is a bold and surprising decision that reflects Messi’s ambition, preference, and strategy. It is also a risky and exciting adventure that will test Messi’s abilities, adaptability, and resilience.
Messi in Miami is a dream come true for many soccer fans in the US and around the world. It is also a challenge and an opportunity for Messi to write a new chapter in his remarkable career. It will be fascinating to see how Messi will perform in Inter Miami and how he will change the face of MLS.