International soccer star Lionel Messi could be on way to Miami

Sports

(NewsNation) — Lionel Messi is widely considered one of the best soccer players of all time — a  mainstay in international play for nearly two decades and arguably the most dominant force in the sport as the centerpiece of some of the world’s biggest teams. 

But at age 34, the Argentine forward could be moving across the pond for his final chapter.

A writer from Front Office Sports has reported the international icon will make the move to Inter Miami next year, ending his deal with Paris St. Germain to become the most high-profile player to ever suit up for a Major League Soccer (MLS) club.

But Messi’s agents have refuted these new claims, calling them “completely false” and emphasizing that Messi has not yet made up his mind.

If Messi were to decide to make the move, he wouldn’t be the first European star to do so, but by far the most recognizable name.

David Beckham inked a mega-deal to join the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. 

Beckham posted a photo with Messi on Instagram Monday, fueling the rumor mill, despite the Argentine’s reps’ rebuttal. 

Part of the deal that brought Beckham to America was the option for him to buy his own MLS  team. That team would eventually become Inter Miami —  the same team that is now lobbying to lure Messi to the U.S. 

Reports now say the same deal has been presented to Messi — an offer to purchase a 35% ownership stake in the club that’s worth more than $200 million.

The move could also be a welcome change for Messi who, for the first time in his professional career, has struggled recently.

Messi has been snubbed in postseason honors, having dealt with a long list of injuries, and in March, fans booed the 34-year-old player after a loss.

Miami is a natural fit for Messi. He already spends the offseason there and in 2021, he actually purchased an entire floor of a south Florida condo building. Additionally, city leaders recently greenlit plans for a brand new stadium for Inter Miami. 

But don’t think the $200 million price tag for an ownership stake is too high for the future Hall of Famer. This year, Messi beat LeBron James for the No. 1 spot on the Forbes list of highest-paid athletes in the world, raking in a whopping $130 million in 2022 alone.

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