Lionel Messi has finalised his deal to join Major League Soccer, and after years of planning, Inter Miami has landed a global icon.
Messi’s contract became official on Saturday, a little more than five weeks after he declared he would be joining Inter Miami. The team will introduce him on Sunday at its stadium in Fort Lauderdale, and the first home match of the Messi era could be as early as Friday in a Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul.
A news conference is scheduled for Monday, and his first training session with his new club is expected on Tuesday. The club previously announced Messi’s deal will be for two and a half seasons and that they will pay him between $50m (£38m) and $60m annually – putting the total contract value between $125m and $150m in cash alone.
“BIENVENIDO 10,” the club posted on Twitter, while the MLS commissioner, Don Garber, said in a statement: “We are overjoyed that the greatest player in the world chose Inter Miami CF and Major League Soccer, and his decision is a testament to the momentum and energy behind our League and our sport in North America. We have no doubt that Lionel will show the world that MLS can be a League of Choice for the best players in the game.”
Messi arrived in south Florida on Tuesday after a holiday, then started the process of physicals and paperwork on Wednesday and the deal was finalised on Saturday afternoon. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is making his Miami move after two years with Paris Saint-Germain.
“I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States,” Messi said in a statement distributed by the club. “This is a fantastic opportunity and together we will continue to build this beautiful project. 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.”