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Lionel Messi's transfer to Inter Miami will help MLS become 'one of the top two leagues in the world', says managing owner Jorge Mas

Lionel Messi Inter MiamiGetty/GOAL
  • Argentine leaving PSG as a free agent
  • Taking on new challenge in Florida
  • Raising profile of game in the U.S.

WHAT HAPPENED? The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has decided to open a new chapter in his remarkable career outside of European football after reaching the end of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain. The Argentine icon, who savoured World Cup glory at Qatar 2022, says he has already “completed football” and is now looking for a new challenge. His presence in the United States will help to raise the profile of MLS even further, with Jorge Mas excited about what the future holds for a division that could soon compete with the very best on the planet.

WHAT THEY SAID: Mas, who works alongside Manchester United and England legend David Beckham in Miami, has said of Messi’s potential impact: “I think there will always be a before and after Messi when we talk about the sport in the United States. I have a very, very strong-held belief that we can create in North America and the United States if not the greatest league, one of the top two leagues in the world. I cannot overemphasise the magnitude of this announcement.

“Having the world’s greatest player here is something that is significant for our league, and for the football ecosystem in the United States. … Lionel Messi is coming to this country to win cups and make a difference. I think it’s incumbent upon myself and my partners in the league, the other owners, to seize the moment.”

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi has committed to a lucrative two-and-a-half-year contract, which includes the option for an extension through 2026, but Mas insists that Inter Miami are still in a position to bring more bodies in alongside the iconic South American. He added on a bid to piece together a squad that can compete for MLS Cup glory: “We’ve been preparing our roster for Messi’s arrival in [2023], so we left an enormous amount of flexibility. We will be making additional signings during the summer window, more than what people anticipate. We do not have to dismantle our team. We do not have to clean house, but I can say we will potentially be making between three and five signings.”

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Lionel Messi Inter MiamiGetty/GOAL

Lionel Messi World Cup trophyGetty

WHAT NEXT? Messi is poised to make his debut for Inter Miami in a Leagues Cup clash with Mexican side Cruz Azul on July 21, with his MLS bow pencilled in for a month later in a home date with Charlotte FC.