The future of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has become clear, according to reports
Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi is set to become an MLS franchise owner through buying a 35% stake in Inter Miami and joining them as a player in 2023, reports claim.
The Argentine left boyhood club FC Barcelona as a free agent last summer when the Catalans failed to navigate a strict La Liga salary clap and offer him a new contract.
These developments saw the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner switch allegiances to PSG, where he struck a two-year deal.
But a reporter from Latin American media giant DIRECTV based in Madrid says that Messi will head over the Atlantic once his commitments to the Ligue 1 giants have been completed in June 2023 and join Inter Miami.
By staying in Europe another season, Messi will have one last crack at trying to lift a fifth Champions League crown and should also turn up to the Qatar 2022 World Cup in peak shape for Argentina in November.
Once his current arrangement with his Qatari-backed employers has expired, however, Messi will allegedly join Inter Miami which the heroes of his last UCL win in 2015 for Barca such as Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets have all been rumored to sign for over the next couple of years.
DIRECTV says that Inter Miami already have a contract written up for Messi which has not yet been signed, but there is also a deal in the works which will see Messi become the owner of a 35% stake in the MLS franchise and will be completed before he joins them as a 36-year-old player in summer next year.
At present, Inter Miami is currently owned by ex-Manchester United legend David Beckham and the Mas brothers Jorge and Jose, who bought out another ownership group, Claure and Son, in September 2021.
Moving to Miami would see Messi realize what he described as a “dream” to La Sexta in late 2020 while still a Barca player.
“I always had the dream of being able to enjoy and have the experience of living in the United States, [to] experience what the league there is like,” he remarked, after having previously bought a luxury apartment in Miami’s South Beach district in 2019 according to various Spanish media outlets.
If true, the reports cancel out any potential return to Barca for Messi, which had been fueled by a hostile reception he and Neymar received following PSG’s embarrassing comeback knockout by Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 earlier this year.
Booed by their fans at the next home game at Parc des Princes following the defeat, both Messi and Neymar were linked to exits from France but will reportedly stick around and see out their current deals.
“I still have a contract with Paris Saint Germain,” Neymar pointed out to ESPN Argentina after PSG clinched the Ligue 1 title against Lens and were again heckled.
“I’m here for three more years, so stop [booing] or you’ll need more air,” said the ex-FC Barcelona winger, who joined PSG in a still-world record deal in 2017.
If Messi does become a part-owner in Inter Miami, Neymar would be a perfect transfer target as a free agent in 2025 when Messi will be approaching retirement or may have already hung his boots up.
Still performing at a top level, though overlooked for Ligue 1’s Player of the Season award, Messi has scored 11 goals and provided 13 assists in a PSG shirt this term.