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Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi plans to join MLS’ Inter Miami

Lionel Messi will be the biggest star to ever join MLS

In arguably the biggest move in Major League Soccer history, Argentina superstar Lionel Messi plans to sign with Inter Miami.

Messi told multiple media on Wednesday that he plans to join Inter Miami. MLS even announced Messi’s decision via the league’s Twitter account Wednesday afternoon, using the goat emoji announcing the deal with a player considered by many as the greatest soccer player of all time.

“Welcome to MLS, Lionel Messi,” the league added via Twitter. That tweet was deleted, however, less than 30 minutes after it was sent out.

“We are pleased that Lionel Messi has stated that he intends to join Inter Miami and Major League Soccer this summer,” MLS announced via Twitter at 2:53 p.m. CST. “Although work remains to finalize a formal agreement, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time to our League.”

Acclaimed soccer journalist Guillem Balague first broke the news Wednesday morning. Messi picked David Beckham’s Inter Miami over Saudi Arabia club Al Hilal and his former Spanish club FC Barcelona. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Just last month a Spanish outlet reported that Messi had agreed to a two-year deal with Al Hilal for $386.5 million a season. He might make his MLS debut as early as next month.

“Messi has decided,” Balague tweeted. “His destination: Inter Miami.”

Lionel Messi set to leave PSG

Messi, who has a summer home in Miami, will officially leave French club Paris Saint-Germain Football Club on June 30. The FC Barcelona legend was courted heavily by Al Hilal and Inter Miami. Barcelona, which took him to Spain from Argentina as a 13-year-old, also courted Messi. 

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Messi established himself as one of soccer’s greats as a teenager at FC Barcelona. He filled the biggest hole on his international resume in December when he led Argentina to the FIFA World Cup title.

Lionel Messi, 35, and Cristiano Ronaldo, 38, are arguably the two greatest soccer players of their generation. Ronaldo signed with Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in December.

Saudi Arabian clubs have courted some of the biggest names in soccer recently, including Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante.

Adidas, Apple helping to court Messi

According to The Athletic, MLS courted Messi with the help of sponsors Adidas and Apple.

Messi’s signing is the league’s biggest addition since Beckham joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Robbie Keane, Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, Hugo Sanchez, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez and Carlos Vela are just a few international stars who have played in MLS.

Lionel Messi is on another level, though. He’s a seven-time winner of the Ballon d’Or. With 474 goals, he’s also the all-time leading scorer in La Liga history. He rates with Pele and Maradona among the greatest soccer players of all-time.

Maradona never played in MLS, but Pele helped soccer grow in the United States during his time with the New York Cosmos of the defunct North American Soccer League from 1975-77. Pele and Beckham were box office hits in the United States.

Messi will surely be one too.

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