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'I'm Going to Miami.' Lionel Messi Is Heading to the MLS's Inter Miami CF. In a surprise decision, the soccer star says he's hanging up his cleats in Europe to play in the U.S.

By Jonathan Small

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Lionel Messi, one of the best players in soccer history, announced today that he will be leaving the European league to play for Inter Miami CF of the MLS.

"I made the decision that I'm going to go to Miami," Messi told Mundo Deportivo. "I still haven't closed it one hundred percent. I'm missing some things, but we decided to continue on the path."

The 35-year-old star soccer won the World Cup for Argentina in 2022, and is a seven-time World Player of the Year. Many predicted Messi would either follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo and play for the Saudi Premier League or sign with Barcelona FC for the 2023-24 season for $25 million. But the player known for trick plays seems to have fooled them all.

Related: 5 Things to Learn from Lionel Messi

The soccer world reacts

Many were shocked by Messi's decision. Inter Miami, which is co-owned by another soccer legend David Beckham and has an Argentinian coach, is the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

Barcelona FC said in a statement that club president Joan Laporta "understood and respected Messi's decision to want to compete in a league with fewer demands, further away from the spotlight and the pressure he has been subject to in recent years".


But according to Messi biographer Guillem Balague, "Messi was ultimately tempted to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami for a variety of reasons, including lifestyle and a deal with big brands that extends beyond football." He added that Messi has a house in Miami.

One person that wasn't disappointed was Miami's mayor Francis Suarez.

"We literally beat his longtime home team and an incredible financial package from one of the wealthiest countries because Miami is the most exciting and dynamic city in the world," he wrote on Twitter.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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