Lionel Messi to Inter Miami: inside ex Barcelona star’s transfer from PSG - what happened to Saudi links?
Lionel Messi’s departure from Paris Saint Germain has been confirmed and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will start next season with MLS side Inter Miami.
The Argentinian international is widely regarded as one of the best footballers of his generation and in some people's eyes the greatest player of all time. Messi further cemented his status as an all-time great during last year’s World Cup where he guided his nation to glory.
But why is Lionel Messi leaving PSG and what has been said about his move to Inter Miami?
Why is Lionel Messi moving to Inter Miami?
Argentina legend Lionel Messi is set to complete a move to join Inter Miami on a free transfer after the expiration of his contract with PSG. The Miami deal reportedly includes collaboration from brands such as Adidas and Apple.
It is the first time that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has played outside of Europe and he has spent the majority of his playing career with Spanish giants Barcelona.
Barcelona were the favourites to sign the player and manager Xavi had openly stated that signing Messi was a “priority” for the club. But despite his wishes it is reported that Barcelona failed to offer Messi a satisfactory deal.
A number of Saudi Arabian teams were also linked with the Argentina star and Messi is already an ambassador for tourism in the country.
Messi was ultimately tempted to the MLS side Inter Miami for a variety of reasons including lifestyle, and he already owns a house in the Miami area that he currently rents out.
What can he expect at Inter Miami?
Inter Miami is a professional football club which competes in the MLS. The team was founded in 2018 and it began playing in the MLS in 2020.
The club is owned by former Manchester United and Real Madrid footballer David Beckham, along with Jose and Jorge Mes.
Inter Miami were formerly managed by Phil Neville but his time at the club came to an end on 1 June when he was sacked.
Argentine coach Javier Morales is currently acting as the team's head coach on an interim basis, but it is highly speculated that Messi will be reunited with former Barcelona and Argentina manager Gerardo Martino.
Why is Lionel Messi leaving Paris Saint Germain?
Messi has confirmed his intention to leave PSG this summer and the forward will not return for a third season. Messi signed for the French giants in 2021 on a two-year contract and left Barcelona after an 18-year association with the club.
The Argentinian won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles during his time with PSG and scored 32 goals in 71 appearances whilst also providing 34 assists. Messi’s contract at PSG included an option to extend his contract for a third year but the World Cup winner has opted not to extend the deal.
The striker was also suspended by PSG earlier this season for going on a personal trip to Saudi Arabia without permission.
PSG are reportedly focusing on a new strategy which focuses on recruiting young French players instead of superstar talents - leading to speculation over more high-profile departures including Neymar.