Soccer great Lionel Messi signed for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami on Saturday, the club announced.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who is under contract with the club until the end of the 2025 MLS season, said he was “very excited,” while co-owner David Beckham described the signing as a “dream come true.”
“This is a fantastic opportunity and together we will continue to build this beautiful project,” Messi, who won the World Cup with Argentina last year, said in a statement. “The idea is to work together to achieve the objectives we set, and I’m very eager to start helping here in my new home.”
The 36-year-old’s expected Inter Miami debut is scheduled for July 21 against LIGA MX side, Cruz Azul, in the opening match of Leagues Cup.
“Ten years ago, when I started my journey to build a new team in Miami, I said that I dreamt of bringing the greatest players in the world to this amazing city. Players who shared the ambition I had when I joined LA Galaxy to help grow football in the USA and to build a legacy for the next generation in this sport that we love so much,” former Real Madrid and Manchester United star Beckham said in a statement.
“Today that dream came true. I couldn’t be prouder that a player of Leo’s caliber is joining our club, but I am also delighted to welcome a good friend, an amazing person and his beautiful family to join our Inter Miami community. The next phase of our adventure starts here, and I can’t wait to see Leo take to the pitch.”
Inter Miami’s part-owner Jorge Mas told Spanish publication El Pais earlier this month in an interview that Messi’s contract is worth between $50 to $60 million per year.
According to multiple reports, Messi’s new deal includes an option for part-ownership of the club and a cut of revenue from new subscribers to Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass streaming service.
Messi spent the last two years playing for French side Paris Saint-Germain. Before that, the Argentine played for Spanish giants Barcelona for over twenty years, winning 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League four times.
In December last year, Messi played a vital part in Argentina’s World Cup success in Qatar, becoming the first man to win the tournament’s Golden Ball, awarded to the best player at the World Cup, twice.