Lionel Messi to Inter Miami: How it Happened and What it Entails

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Argentine star Lionel Messi confirmed Wednesday 7 June that he will be moving to MLS side, Inter Miami after the expiration of his contract with PSG.

Messi was tipped for a sensational return to Barcelona and a move to Saudi Arabia was strongly on the cards but the Argentina World Cup winner turned down both offers to move to the United States of America.

On Monday 12 June, it seemed like Barcelona were going to land their former player after their financial viability plan got the green light from La Liga, and Messi's father and agent, Jorge Messi was filmed meeting the Catalans' president, Joan Laporta.

Regarding this, Messi said: "Although I heard that it was said that the league had accepted everything and that everything was fine for me to return... there were still many other things missing.

"I heard that they had to sell players or lower player salaries [to make the deal happen], and the truth is that I didn't want to go through that or take charge of obtaining something that had anything to do with all that."

Messi had a huge offer from Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia with a reported €500 million ($534 million) a year deal in place to star in the Saudi Pro League.

When it looked certain he was going to move to Inter Miami, the Saudis upped their offer to €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion), according to COPE's Helena Condis.

Regardless of this, Messi turned down the offer, noting that he didn’t move for money.

"If it had been a matter of money, I’d have gone to Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money to me," Messi pointed out.

"The truth is that my final decision goes elsewhere, and not because of money."

The exact terms of Messi’s new salary and the length of the contract are yet to be known.

A report from Sport details that Messi is due to sign a four-year contract, while another Spanish report claims his salary could be worth $54m per season.

Regardless of the figure, Messi is almost certain to become the highest-paid player in MLS, with Chicago Fire’s Xherdan Shaqiri currently the top earner on $8,153,000, according to Spotrac.

What is the impact of the move on Inter Miami?

Increase in Social Media Followers

After Messi’s announcement, the club’s Instagram followers count took a huge jump from one million followers to 8.1 million at the time of writing.

Twitter hasn’t been left out with an increase from 207.5k to 517.9k.

According to The Spectator Index, Inter Miami gained over a million followers on social media within 10 minutes after Messi’s announcement.

Increase in Ticket Prices and Sales

Messi confirming his desire to join Inter Miami had an instant effect on the cost of a match ticket.

His potential debut game against Cruz Azul on 21 July saw the cheapest tickets jump from $29 (£23) to $329 (£262), according to TickPick.

Also, the game against New York Red Bulls in August has seen the cheapest ticket go from $30 (£24) to $401 (£320) and the tie versus Los Angeles FC is now $422 (£336) from the original $81 (£65) price.

According to Forbes, the club saw a 1000 percent increase in ticket prices overall in the hours after the Messi news broke.

The increase hasn’t deterred fans as tickets are selling out.

Messi’s potential first game against Cruz Azul has been sold out and there are reports that they could move to a stadium that can take more than 18,000 spectators.

Impact on MLS 

In recent years, the MLS has tried to bring in superstars with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Villa, Kaka, Thierry Henry, and Gonzalo Higuain joining the league.

That has yielded some success but none will top Messi, surely. This could potentially reopen the pathway for football stars to move to the MLS.

As unexpected as it seems, Messi is moving to the MLS. His career is at its twilight so it shouldn’t be a surprise. For the League, however, this could be the big break it needs.


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