Report: Lionel Messi nearing agreement to come to MLS, join Inter Miami

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Is Lionel Messi heading to Major League Soccer in 2023? According to the Sunday Times, Messi is close to an agreement with Inter Miami to join the team after the conclusion of the 2022-23 European season. Messi, 35, would be the highest-paid player in MLS history and also the highest-profile player to ever play in MLS.

Inter Miami is co-owned by David Beckham, the man who made waves in the 2000s when he came to MLS to play for LA Galaxy. The Times also reports that Inter Miami is looking to recruit players who have played with Messi previously in Europe to join him in the United States.

The Argentina star currently plays for PSG in France’s Ligue 1 after playing most of his career at Barcelona. Messi established himself as one of the best players ever at Barcelona and has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards given to the best player in soccer.

Messi joined PSG ahead of the 2021-22 season after he couldn’t come to a contract agreement with Barcelona amidst the club’s financial issues. Messi scored 474 goals in 520 La Liga appearances for Barcelona and tallied a staggering 96 goals over 69 appearances over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as Barcelona was one of the best squads modern soccer history.

Messi’s contract with PSG is up at the end of the season and a possible move to MLS has long been rumored. It’s unclear how much he’d actually play for Inter Miami after he would join the team in 2023. Major League Soccer’s schedule doesn’t match up with the schedule for major European club soccer. Combine the overlapping schedules with the 2022 World Cup and Messi would be facing over 14 straight months of soccer without a break if he joined Inter Miami as soon as PSG’s season was over and immediately featured in the squad.

Argentina's Lionel Messi in action during the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Argentina's Lionel Messi in action during the World Cup group C soccer match between Argentina and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Messi’s biggest priority at the moment is securing his first World Cup. He scored Argentina’s first goal on Saturday in a 2-0 win over Mexico that staved off elimination for the Argentines. Argentina can advance to the knockout rounds with a win over Poland in the final game of the group stage.

Inter Miami went 14-6-14 and had 48 points in 2022. It lost in the first round of the playoffs to NYFC in its first playoff appearance in the franchise’s three-year history.