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Report: Lionel Messi to Sign Inter Miami Contract, Be Highest-Paid MLS Player Ever

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 27, 2022

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal 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)
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Superstar forward Lionel Messi will reportedly sign with Inter Miami after this year's World Cup and join the MLS side following the 2022-23 European season, according to Matt Lawton of The Times.

Messi's contract with his current club, Paris Saint-Germain, expires after this season, though he does reportedly have an option to extend the contract another season. But if he doesn't exercise that option, he will be free to sign with a new team in January and would be made the highest-paid player in MLS history.

Per Lawton, the presence of Inter Miami president and co-owner David Beckham has played a key part in Messi's reported decision to join the club:

Times Sport @TimesSport

Beckham’s influence is said to be key to the deal – as an ambassador for the Qataris at the World Cup, he has a direct line to the PSG owners. The former England captain also has a relationship with Messi through their association with Adidas

Football reporter Fabrizio Romano, however, reported Messi has not yet made his mind up:

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

Leo Messi has not decided his future yet. His camp guarantees that Leo is only focused on the World Cup and there’s no agreement with any club. 🚨🇦🇷 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Messi?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Messi</a><br><br>Inter Miami want Messi and will push; but also PSG will offer Leo a new deal soon.<br><br>Messi’s decision will be made in 2023. <a href="https://t.co/rXQ6bvZvLS">pic.twitter.com/rXQ6bvZvLS</a>

The 35-year-old Messi, currently representing Argentina at the World Cup, has continued to produce in the twilight of his career, with seven goals and 10 assists in Ligue 1 play and four goals and four assists in the Champions League this season.

Paired with Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, he's given PSG one of the most dangerous attacking units in club football.

Inter Miami may look to surround him with talented attacking options as well, albeit older players than Mbappé and Neymar, with Lawton reporting the team may look to sign his former Barcelona teammates, Cesc Fàbregas and Luis Suárez.

Fàbregas is currently playing for Italian Serie B club Como, while Suárez is playing for Uruguay's Nacional.

Another former Barca teammate, Sergio Busquets, may be joining the party as well:

B/R Football @brfootball

Sergio Busquets will sign for Inter Miami next season, reports <a href="https://twitter.com/juanmacastano?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@juanmacastano</a> <a href="https://t.co/jVNTR668Dr">pic.twitter.com/jVNTR668Dr</a>

Messi would easily be the biggest star to ever join the MLS, though the league has attracted top talents nearing the end of their careers in the past like Beckham, Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Wayne Rooney, Kaká, Andrea Pirlo, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, among others.

Messi, however, is arguably the greatest player of all time, and if he chooses to finish his career with Inter Miami it would be a huge coup for the MLS.