Lionel Messi, football’s most coveted free agent, chooses Inter Miami

The best player of his generation and quite possibly the best player of all time, Messi arrived in MLS with every conceivable accolade at club and international level: league titles in Spain and France; four Champions League trophies with Barcelona; and the America’s Cup, and last December’s World Cup with Argentina.

His status as the best player in the world has made him an extremely valuable player as his contract with his current employer, Paris Saint-Germain, has expired. Miami was far from his only option, with Messi, 35, holding back from both a proposed return to Barcelona and a monumental offer worth up to $500 million to move to Saudi Arabia, which intended to lure a dozen of the planet’s best players this summer to go to Persian. bay.

If the deal goes through, it would be the biggest coup for MLS since it brought in Beckham in 2007 when he joined Los Angeles Galaxy. This deal changed the perception of the league’s quality and ambition around the world; The capture of Messi, if anything, will draw even more attention to the league ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the US, Mexico and Canada.

Messi admitted in an interview that Miami may not have been his first destination. Speaking to the media, which dedicates much of its coverage to Barcelona, ​​the club where he became the best player of his generation, Messi made it clear that in an ideal world he would return to Catalonia. He “obviously really wanted to come back,” he said, and discussed the idea with Javi Hernandez, the club’s manager, and Joan Laporta, its president.

In the end, financial turmoil at Barcelona forced him to go for it. “I heard they had to sell players or take pay cuts and the truth is I didn’t want to go through that,” he said, suggesting he doesn’t want to be held responsible for forcing Barcelona to adjust their squad simply in order to adapt. to him