Lionel Messi has avoided a move to Saudi Arabia, opting for MLS

  • Argentina superstar Lionel Messi turned down a more lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia and instead plied his trade with American Major League Soccer club Inter Miami.
  • The blockbuster announcement came after months of intense speculation over whether the 35-year-old would return to his beloved Barcelona, ​​the Spanish club he moved to join as a teenager.
  • “If it had been a question of money, I would have gone [Saudi] They offered me a lot of money in Arabia or somewhere else,” Messi said.

Messi announced on Wednesday that he will sign for Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, choosing the United States as his next destination in a blockbuster deal to either reunite with Barcelona or play in Saudi Arabia.

Giorgio Vieira | Afp | Good pictures

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, turned down a more lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia and opted to ply his trade with Major League Soccer club Inter Miami.

The blockbuster announcement came after months of intense speculation over whether the 35-year-old would return to his beloved Barcelona, ​​the Spanish club he moved to join as a teenager but reluctantly left in 2021. However, this is not always possible depending on the club. La Liga has had a long-standing problem with its Financial Fair Play rules.

Messi, who led Argentina to victory at last year’s World Cup, was widely tipped to play for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia after parting ways with French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Unexpectedly, Messi said on Wednesday that he had chosen the Miami franchise.

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“I’ve decided I’m going to go to Miami,” Messi revealed in an interview with Spanish news outlets Mundo Deportivo and Sport.

“I haven’t closed it 100% yet. I’m still missing some things, but we decided to move on. If Barcelona didn’t work, I wanted to leave Europe, get out of the limelight and think more about it. My family.”

Messi said he felt the time had come to join the American League “to experience football in a different way, to enjoy it day by day”.

He added, “Obviously, with the same responsibility and desire to win and always do things better. But with more peace of mind.”

The deal means the global soccer icon does not follow long-time rivals Cristiano Ronaldo and French striker Karim Benzema in moving to Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East Gulf nation, one of the fastest growing in the world of sports, achieved a coup less than 24 hours ago with the announcement of a shock merger between its breakaway LIV golf circuit and the US-based PGA Tour.

Messi’s rejection a reported The $400 million-a-year deal, a huge sum even by the eye-watering standards of soccer, is a blow to Riyadh’s ambitions to lure the game’s biggest players to its top league.

Last month, Messi’s father and agent, Jorge Messi, refused After French media reported it was a “done deal”, there was speculation her son was set to move to Saudi Arabia.

It comes after PSG suspended Messi, who was unveiled as a tourism ambassador for the oil-rich country last year, for traveling to Saudi Arabia and missing a training session as a result.

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“If it had been a question of money, I would have gone [Saudi] They offered me a lot of money in Arabia or somewhere else,” Messi said.

DRV PNK Stadium where professional soccer team Inter Miami plays on June 07, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Joe Radle | Getty Images News | Good pictures

One of Inter Miami’s owners, Jorge Mas, shared a photo of Messi’s silhouette jersey ahead of Messi’s announcement, fueling speculation that the player will soon be arriving in South Beach, Florida.

“We are delighted that Lionel Messi has indicated his desire to join Inter Miami and Major League Soccer this summer,” MLS said. said In a statement, he said some finer details still need to be ironed out.

“While work remains to finalize a formal contract, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest football players of all time to our league,” the league said.

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