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Lionel Messi will make his Inter Miami debut this summer.
The club’s managing owner, Jorge Mas, told reporters on Monday that the superstar was expected to first appear against Cruz Azul during a Leagues Cup matchup on July 21.
Mas revealed other information about Messi’s deal on Monday, noting that is worth between $50 and $60 million per season, on average, over the next 2.5 years. It also includes an option for 2026.
The deal is not officially finalized, with details to be sorted through, but the two sides have agreed in principle on the terms.
Additionally, the superstar forward received an ownership stake in the club and has upcoming deals with Apple and Adidas, and possibly Fanatics as well.
And Messi will be bringing some of his friends with him. Per Mas, the plan is to sign Sergio Busquets as the club’s designated player immediately, while the plan is to sign between three to five of his former teammates this summer.
Mas said Messi didn’t specify any players for the club to pursue, however.
Bringing Messi aboard is an enormous coup for both Inter Miami and Major League Soccer. Even at 35 he remains an exceptional talent, scoring 16 goals and adding 16 assists in 32 club games for Paris Saint-Germain last season.
He’ll face far less talented competition during MLS play, and if his body doesn’t break down—a possibility given his age in such a physically demanding sport—he’ll be expected to absolutely dominate.
He joins a long list of superstars who dominated in European football before coming to the United States, including MLS appearances from players like Thierry Henry, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, among others.