A little more than a month after Lionel Messi announced his decision to come to Major League Soccer, his new club has finally completed the most consequential move in league history. A video posted to Inter Miami’s official Twitter account gave soccer fans their first glimpse of the greatest player to ever step foot on a pitch in the club’s kit.
In a statement, MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league is “overjoyed” that Messi decided to come to the United States following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.
Statement from MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Inter Miami CF signing Lionel Messi. pic.twitter.com/1i2OBCps6A
— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) July 15, 2023
While both Messi and Inter Miami announced that he would join the team back in June, reports indicated that the hang-up revolved around getting the final details all sorted out in his contract, which runs through the next two and a half year and features an option for the 2026 season, according to The Athletic. It’s a move that has been in the work for quite some time, but Messi’s deal has reportedly been a bit more complex than the average contract, with stakeholders in the league like Apple and adidas being involved in getting all the details sorted out.
Now, that’s all been sorted out, and Messi is set to be unveiled to Miami supporters on Sunday evening at DRV PNK Stadium alongside another one of the club’s new signings, Sergio Busquets, a midfielder who played with Messi at Barcelona from 2008-21. It’s unclear exactly when Messi will play his first game for Miami, but the plan is for him to suit up for the first time on July 21, when the team plays Mexican side Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.
Messi will join a Miami side that has struggled this season, as the club has 18 points from 21 games to put them in last place in the Eastern Conference. They find themselves 11 points out of the final playoff spot in the East, although the team currently in that spot — the Chicago Fire — have played one more game.