After leaving French champions Paris St. Germain, Lionel Messi will reject a lucrative contract in Saudi Arabia and sign with Major League Soccer team Inter Miami as a free agent, according to the BBC on Wednesday.
Messi, who recently played his farewell match for PSG, was also rumored to be interested in a return to Barcelona, but the Spanish club’s options were limited by LaLiga’s financial fair play regulations.
The 35-year-old Argentine will play outside of Europe for the first time since joining Barca’s academy at the age of 13 and become the Spanish club’s all-time leading scorer with 672 goals if the agreement with Miami is approved.
The MLS claimed that the league approves all player contracts but was unable to corroborate the BBC allegation.
Requests for comment from Inter Miami did not immediately receive a response.
A source with knowledge of the talks told Reuters last week that Messi wants to join a team where he could someday hold a part. Additionally, he wanted to make the most of his current agreement with Adidas and MLS’s partnership with Apple.
MLS receives a set price from Apple of about $250 million annually up until it hits a predetermined number of subscriptions, at which point it will receive a portion of the money generated by those subscriptions.
As the most well-known soccer player in the world, Messi’s move to the MLS is anticipated to draw people to the Apple TV streaming platform.
Messi won the Ligue 1 championship in his two seasons at PSG as well as the French Super Cup in 2022. Messi, who led Argentina to World Cup victory in Qatar in December and holds a record seven Ballon d’Or honors, also won the French Super Cup in 2022.
After receiving a formal offer, the forward was also mentioned in connection with a transfer to Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia.
In an effort to attract the game’s top players to its league, the Gulf nation was successful in persuading Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo to join Al Nassr shortly after the World Cup. Karim Benzema, a French striker, has signed with Al Ittihad.