Argentine superstar Lionel Messi is joining American side Inter Miami, co-owned by David Beckham, various media outlets suggested on Wednesday.
The MLS side had declined to speculate over a move for the World Cup winner last week, with a megabuck switch to Saudi Arabia appearing as the most likely destination for the 35-year-old.
Without quoting any sources, the BBC, the Independent and Marca amongst others named Miami as Messi’s new club following the end of his two-year contract this month with French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.
He has not announced which club side he will play for next, but previous reports and a source close to the negotiations suggested he could join Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and World Cup-winning French midfielder N’Golo Kante on a lucrative contract to play in Saudi Arabia.
Messi, with Benzema and Kante, was on a list of 10 targets who have been contacted by Saudi officials, a source close to the negotiations told AFP this week.
But if Wednesday’s reports prove accurate it is Florida and not Jeddah that will be Messi’s new destination.
According to sports journalist, Fabrizio Romano, Messi “will clarify the reasons and details of his decision to join Inter Miami in the next hours.”
🚨🚨 BREAKING: Lionel Messi to Inter Miami, here we go! The decision has been made and it will be announced by Leo in the next hours #InterMiami
🇺🇸 Messi will play in MLS. No more chances for Barcelona/Al Hilal despite trying to make it happen.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 7, 2023
Inter Miami sacked coach Phil Neville last week, replacing the Englishman with Messi’s compatriot Javier Morales.
There is now a distinctly Argentine feel to the Miami club, which has a strong South American fan base — as well as Morales, goalkeeping coach Sebastian Saja played four times for the national side and eight years with Argentine club San Lorenzo.
Federico Higuain, the brother of former Argentina and Real Madrid forward Gonzalo, is the head coach of Inter’s reserve team, assisted by compatriot Cristian Raul Ledesma.
On Tuesday streaming platform Apple TV+ announced a four-part documentary series on Argentina’s seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.