Argentine great Lionel Messi has completed his signing for Inter Miami on a deal that will keep him in Florida until 2025, the Major League Soccer side said on Saturday.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will be joining the squad in the coming days and will hold a franchise player spot, the club added.
The 36-year-old himself said: “This is a great opportunity and together we will continue to build this beautiful project,” said Messi.
“The idea is to work together to achieve the goals we set ourselves and I’m really looking forward to being able to start helping here in my new home.”
Messi is expected to make his debut next Saturday when Miami host Mexico’s Cruz Azul in their Leagues Cup opener.
Team co-owner David Beckham said: “I dreamed of bringing the best players in the world, players with the same ambition I had when I came to the LA Galaxy to help grow football in the United States and build a legacy in this sport we love so much.
“Today that dream has become a reality. I couldn’t be prouder that a player of Leo’s caliber is coming to our club, but I am also thrilled to welcome a good friend, an incredible person and his beautiful family to our Inter Miami community.”
Having the World Cup winner on board promises to be a big boost for soccer in the U.S. where the sport trails in popularity behind the other major North American men’s professional leagues.
Messi will be formally unveiled on Sunday in an entertainment event with fans at DRV PNK Stadium. A formal press conference is scheduled for Monday, with Messi and Miami ownership.
“We are overjoyed that the greatest player in the world chose Inter Miami and MLS, and his decision is a testament to the momentum and energy behind our League and our sport in North America,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
“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.”
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