Messi to debut in US soccer: Why did Leo choose Inter Miami? How will it change football in America?

Club managing owner Jorge Mas has reportedly revealed to a select group of reporters that Lionel Messi is anticipated to grace the field for his debut with Inter Miami on July 21. The news, as reported by the esteemed Miami Herald, unveils the exciting prospect of Messi’s first appearance in the Leagues Cup opening match against Mexico’s Cruz Azul, set to take place at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Why did Messi choose Inter Miami?

Staying at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), where he faced regular criticism from French fans, was not an appealing option for him. Returning to Barcelona would have satisfied his fans, but the club’s financial challenges and internal politics complicated any potential deal. This left Messi with two enticing “money options”: Inter Miami and Saudi Arabia.

Messi turned down a reported $1 billion offered by the Saudis. The details of his agreement with Inter Miami have yet to be disclosed, but rumoured profit-sharing agreements with Apple Inc. and Adidas AG may make the deal even more lucrative, as per Juan Pablo Spinetto’s column on Bloomberg.

Beyond professional factors, personal considerations played a role in Messi’s decision. Known as a devoted family man with a stable personal life, Messi already owns a residence in Miami and enjoys spending holidays there. The prospect of a different lifestyle for himself and his family, with an emphasis on cherishing the day-to-day moments, was a significant factor in his choice to join Inter Miami.

How will Messi benefit US soccer?

Lionel Messi’s impending arrival at Inter Miami has already caused a significant surge in the club’s social media following, hinting at the immense impact the football superstar is expected to have on US soccer.

Messi moving to the US is “the one seminal moment” in the history of soccer in the country, the Miami Herald quoted Mas as telling reporters.

Jorge Mas expressed his belief that the signing of Messi represents a pivotal moment in the sport’s history in the United States. He emphasised the potential for the creation of one of the top two leagues in the world on North American soil.

There will be enhanced protocols in place to protect Messi and the team. This includes bussing players through a secure tunnel and implementing necessary measures both during home and away matches.

As anticipation builds for Messi’s debut, ticket prices throughout the league have skyrocketed. Reports indicate that ticket prices for Inter Miami matches experienced an astounding surge of over 1,000% in the minutes following news of Messi’s move to the US.

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Updated: 22 Jun 2023, 10:43 AM IST

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