On today’s episode of Word Football News, we cover perhaps the greatest footballer on Earth – Lionel Messi and analyse his decision to choose Major League Soccer (Inter Miami C.F.) over the alleged mouth-watering offer from Saudi Pro league Team.
Following in the footsteps of countless American retirees, Lionel Messi is moving to South Florida.
Only instead of shuffleboard and canasta, the World Cup winner is continuing his professional soccer career with MLS’s Inter Miami CF, a last-place club owned David Beckham and the Florida-based Mas brothers.
Messi Left French Ligue 1 Giants PSG
The decision is surprising, in part, because Messi is leaving a French powerhouse, Paris Saint-Germain, while declining offers that may be more enticing, although financial details of his offer from Miami remain unreported.
Not only was Barcelona rumored to be interested in a reunion with Messi, but Saudi Arabia has also reportedly dangled a $400million offer for the Argentinian legend after giving similarly lucrative deals to Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Analysing Messi’s Decision to Join Inter Miami C.F.
So why would Messi pass over an unimaginable payday for a chance to play for a struggling team? The simple answer: He has more to consider than just salary.
For starters, Messi has always had an eye on the owner’s box, and as a source with knowledge of the situation told Reuters, he would be given such an opportunity in Miami – if not immediately, then eventually.
The fact that Beckham played for LA Galaxy from 2007 until 2012 and now owns a rival club certainly bodes well for Messi’s chances of buying into a league team.
More Deals and Endorsement Opportunities
It is also believed that Messi wants to maximize his current endorsement deals with Adidas and Apple, both of which have relationships with MLS and stand to gain more exposure with the 35-year-old playing in the US.
His arrival represents a major opportunity for MLS, which has a $250m-a-year streaming deal with Apple TV and has the opportunity to earn more from the tech giant by reaching an un-reported minimum number of subscriptions.
By adding Messi to the fold, MLS apparently sees that as an attainable goal, and that likely motivated the decision to bring him to Miami.
Will Messi Play FIFA World Cup 2036?
Messi previously said he doesn’t expect to play in another World Cup at age 39 in 2026, but if he were to suit up for Argentina, the fact that the tournament is being held in North America is certainly a plus. Messi wouldn’t need to uproot his family for a month overseas and could instead further capitalize on his existing US sponsorship deals.
Perhaps more than Saudi money or the prestige of Barcelona, it’s Miami itself that has drawn Messi to the United States.
First, Messi has already vacationed with his family in South Florida back in 2021.
Photos from his Instagram account show him swimming with wife, Roccuzzo, and their three sons, Thiago (born 2012), Mateo (2015) and Ciro (2018).
Later Messi was seen at a local restaurant, where he was swarmed by fans, who appeared to be quite familiar with the foreign visitor.
Messi and Miami Rhymes Well Together
Miami made such an impression on Messi that he bought a $9 million condo in the city’s 60-floor Porsche Design Tower – a luxury apartment complex that offers elevators for tenants’ vehicles.
And Miami has traditionally offered a safe haven for real estate investors, many of whom come from overseas.
Specifically, the city is home to one of America’s largest Latino populations and according to the National Association of Realtors, more than half of Miami’s foreign real estate buyers come from Latin America.
Furthermore, as recently as 2010, nearly 9 percent of Miami residents were of South American descent.
‘When people feel like they want to put money into a secure investment, they think of the luxury apartment market in Miami and Miami Beach,’ John Stuart, a professor at Florida International University’s College of Architecture + The Arts, told AFP in 2017.
Messi’s financial motivation for signing in Miami will soon become clear whenever the financial details do get released.
But even if he was offered more money to play in Saudi Arabia, Inter Miami doesn’t come with the added baggage of the controversial kingdom, which has been accused of ‘sportswashing’ its human rights record with the Benzema and Ronaldo signings.
Thinking Forward for His Sons Future?
This sounds obvious, any parent would want their children to have the best of everything. Same is the case with Leo.
At Miami, Messi can raise his young sons in a city he already loves, while continuing to lead his wildly privileged life in the sun, and one, arguably, under less scrutiny, as Barcelona pointed out.
And he’ll get to do it all with an eye on becoming a team owner some day.