U.S. soccer fans will get a kick out of this news.
Argentine superstar Lionel Messi is set to join the Major League Soccer club Inter Miami.
"I made the decision today," the 35-year-old, in comments translated from Spanish, told Barcelona-based sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo June 7. "I still haven't closed it 100 percent. There are a few things that we are still working on."
But Major League Soccer is already celebrating the move. "We are pleased that Lionel Messi has stated that he intends to join Inter Miami and Major League Soccer this summer," the organization said in a statement. "Although work remains to finalize a formal agreement, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time to our League."
In response, Major League Soccer said in a statement, "We are pleased that Lionel Messi has stated that he intends to join Inter Miami and Major League Soccer this summer. Although work remains to finalize a formal agreement, we look forward to welcoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time to our League."
The news comes almost six months after Argentina won the 2023 World Cup, which marked a first for Messi, who was also given the individual Golden Ball as the best player in the finals.
In joining Inter Miami, Messi will be rejecting a reported more than $400 million offer to play for Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal and will also squash hopes from Spanish fans of returning to play for Barcelona, where he began his professional soccer career as a teenager. There, he honed his skills to become one of the greatest players in the sport, and, after 17 years with team, he moved on to Paris Saint-Germain in 2021.
"If the Barcelona thing didn't work out," the dad of three told Mundo Deportivo, "I wanted to leave Europe, take the focus away from myself and focus more on my family."
So, it comes as little surprise that Paris Saint-Germain announced June 3 that the athlete would be leaving the club.
"After two seasons in the French capital, Leo Messi's adventure with Paris Saint-Germain will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2022–23 campaign," the team said in a statement. "The club would like to extend its warmest thanks to the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, who also lifted a Trophée des Champions and two Ligue 1 titles with Les Rouge et Bleu."
Inter Miami is co-owned by David Beckham, who has not commented on Messi's remarks. However, in 2019, when asked about the possibility of signing him or fellow superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to his team, the retired soccer star told Sky Sports, "They're playing at such a high level that it's hard to see them leaving the clubs they are at, but we will see. You never know what can happen in football."