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Lionel Messi’s decision to join Inter Miami and MLS was the culmination of a yearslong sales pitch, according to club co-owner Jorge Mas.
“In 2019, we started thinking about how we could bring him,” he said to Spanish newspaper El País (via Adriana Garcia of ESPN).
Mas explained how club officials were working “very intensely” for a year-and-a-half, and they had “many conversations” with Jorge Messi, Messi’s father and agent. World football legend David Beckham, who’s another a co-owner of Inter Miami, spoke with Messi directly as well.
Mas told the outlet the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will earn around £50 million to £60 million annually on his contract.
Messi hasn’t officially signed with Inter Miami but signaled in June he intends to leave Europe behind and play in the United States.
The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, Felipe Cardenas and Pablo Maurer detailed the efforts made to entice the 36-year-old, which include giving him a potential cut of the money MLS and broadcast partner Apple collect from new Season Pass subscriptions.
Messi will also be the subject of a four-part documentary series on Apple+, which was announced at almost exactly the same time he made his commitment to Inter Miami.
Mas emphasized to El País how Apple entering the frame broadly had a meaningful impact on the Messi sweepstakes.
“The Apple contract was very important to close the deal,” he said.
Mas has said Inter Miami are tentatively expecting Messi to make his full debut July 21 in a Leagues Cup fixture against Liga MX side Cruz Azul. The club has continued to lay the foundation for his arrival with the hiring of coach Gerardo Martino and signing of midfielder Sergio Busquets.