Widely considered to be the greatest footballer to have graced the sport, global soccer icon Lionel Messi could finally be heading to Major League Soccer, following reports claiming the Argentina superstar is considering his future plans. Rumors have persisted regarding a potential switch to Inter Miami for the last few years, although such a move now seems to be closer than ever before.
According to the reputable sources of respected journalist David Ornstein, who is now a regular columnist at The Athletic, there is increasing confidence at Inter Miami and the MLS regarding their blockbuster move for Messi. The 35-year-old will be out of contract next summer at Paris Saint-Germain, where he has enjoying excellent form during the 2022-23 campaign. Inevitably, they are keen to see the iconic player stay in the French capital.
Aside from PSG preparing a new deal, there is also been widespread speculation of a return to FC Barcelona, where Messi spent the best and most successful years of his glittering career. Their club president Joan Laporta has often hinted such a move could be possible, although this could prove incredibly complicated, especially considering economic difficulties at the Spanish giants.
Instead, there is a growing sense of momentum at Inter Miami, who could regard this as their best opportunity to lure Messi to their cause. Already, there have been various talks between the franchise and his father, Jorge Messi, who has apparently met more frequently with their owners in recent months. For their part, co-owners David Beckham, himself a former soccer icon, along with brothers Jorge and Jose Mas, have been pushing their ambitions.
Lionel Messi might be coming to South Beach?
🇫🇷 PSG will push to re-sign their star
🇪🇸 Barcelona want a return
But a team that are understood to be in pole position… MLS’s Inter Miami 🇺🇸@David_Ornstein has more:https://t.co/97c0OF0Xev pic.twitter.com/ZfqNa0bRWB
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) October 31, 2022
For the moment, there is inevitably a notable pause in any such conversations. This is due to Messi focusing on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, particularly with Argentine tipped as genuine challengers to lift the trophy. Furthermore, the player has already indicated this will be his final major tournament, hinting in the clearest possible terms, international retirement beckons following the soccer extravaganza in the Middle East.
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No matter where soccer fans may reside around the world, they obviously know the name of Messi, who has dazzled everyone with his remarkable talents. He also boasts a massive legion of adoring fans, which means that even with advancing years, his appeal as a worldwide brand remains just as appealing. Were he to appear in the MLS, this would undoubtedly be fantastic news for the MLS, and American fans of the sport.
But how realistic are the chances of a move to Inter Miami? Well, back in 2021 news broke that Messi had purchase a property in Florida, fueling speculation that a move to the franchise was imminent. This was also around the time that his future at Barcelona was in doubt, as increased concerns emerged surrounding their precarious financial situation. That summer he ended up leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi, siempre Messi… 🐐#PSGESTAC
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_espanol) October 31, 2022
Further discussions about his long-term future quickly went quiet, although in the background, something else happened. According to Spanish media outlet AS, Messi put his $7.8 million condo near Miami up for sale just months after having made the initial investment. But his relationship with exclusive Florida properties didn’t actually end there, given he also still owns a place at Porsche Design Tower, bought in 2019.
Due to these persisting ties with Miami, and the continued open-door negotiations with the local soccer franchise, the hype and enthusiasm for a move to the United States is gaining traction once again. Were he to eventually join Inter Miami, with some speculation he could arrive as early as next summer, then it would be a truly monumental achievement by the club and the MLS.
They would have lured the most high-profile player since, well, since Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham himself broke boundaries in the MLS at Los Angeles Galaxy. The impact of Messi arriving would be magnificent for the domestic soccer competition, boosting its profile on a global basis like never before, attracting widespread interest across the country and around the whole world.
Such ramifications will not be lost on soccer administrators in the United States, even more so given the country will be co-hosting the 2026 World Cup, alongside Canada and Mexico. Last time hosting the tournament was arguably something of a novelty, whereas next time, this is a country that might also boast having finally arrived, home to easily the greatest superstar soccer player of our generation.